By Ralph Ellis
(CNN) — Federal prison officials are relocating nearly 3,000 inmates after about two-thirds of them broke out of their housing units during a lockdown at a prison in south Texas
The prisoners at the Willacy County Correctional Center refused to take part in work duties on Friday and some inmates said they were unhappy with medical services, said Management & Training Corp., the private company that runs the prison, in a press release.
The inmates were put on lockdown but some broke out of their housing units, MTC said. About 2,000 prisoners went into the recreation area, though none breached the outer fences, MTC said.
Another 1,000 prisoners in another part of the facility were not involved.
With assistance from other law enforcement agencies and by using tear gas, the prisoners were brought under control, MTC said. Two officers and three inmates suffered minor injuries.
The offenders are mostly low-level custody inmates who are “criminal aliens,” MTC said. Willacy County is located in the southern tip of Texas.
MTC said the process of moving inmates to other prisons will take about a week.
“Once all the inmates are moved, we will begin assessing the damage. Soon after the disturbance began yesterday afternoon, inmates set three small fires which were quickly extinguished,” said Issa Arnita, director of corporate communications for MTC.
CNN’s Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.
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