US Federal Prisons on Lockdown after 2 Texas Inmates Killed

( After two inmates were killed during a gang altercation at a federal penitentiary in Texas on January 31, the federal prison system was placed on a nationwide lockdown.

The incident which took place at the federal prison in Beaumont, Texas involved members of MS-13, the violent street gang made up largely of illegal aliens from El Salvador. Officers observed multiple inmates fighting and immediately secured the area. Two inmates were pronounced dead at the scene while two others were injured and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The lockdown was instituted for the over 120 federal prisons in the US out of fear of potential retaliation and concern that the violence could spread to other prisons. During the lockdown, inmates were kept in their cells, and any visits not already canceled due to COVID restrictions were canceled.

While nationwide lockdowns like this are rare, there have been several over the last two years. One occurred in April 2020 as COVID cases spiked within prisons nationwide. The prisons were also put on lockdown after the three-hour riot at the Capitol on January 6 and during Joe Biden’s inauguration later that same month.

The attack at the Beaumont complex is the latest incident of serious violence within the federal Bureau of Prisons which has been struggling with a series of crises in recent years, including widespread staffing shortages, employee misconduct, and a series of escapes and deaths.

Over the last few months, there have been multiple serious security issues within the federal prison system, including several inmate deaths and stabbings. In early January, Bureau of Prisons director Michael Carvajal was forced to resign amid reports of widespread corruption, misconduct, and other problems within the agency.

In recent years, several inmates have escaped from the Beaumont prison complex, leading some local law enforcement to describe the lax security at the complex as its “open-door policy.”

One of the victims of last Monday’s attack, 54-year-old Guillermo Riojas was serving a 38-year sentence for carjacking and interfering with interstate commerce. The other inmate killed, 34-year-old Andrew Pineda was serving a six-year prison term for a racketeering charge.