Inmates win $600,000 settlement for Colorado riot

DENVER (AP) - Nearly 200 inmates won a $600,000 settlement from a private prisons company for their treatment during a 2004 prison riot in southeastern Colorado.

Thirteen inmates were hospitalized after the six-hour riot at Crowley County Correctional Facility, which at the time housed prisoners from multiple states, KCNC-TV reported Wednesday (

The disturbance started after inmates from Washington state refused to return to their cells to protest how they were being kept far from their families. They were also objecting to how an 18-year-old inmate was placed in solitary confinement.

Guards used tear gas and rubber bullets on inmates. Some prisoners were dragged through water and left to sit, soaked, in cells that were flooded with water to quell the disturbance.

Court documents show that prison officials were warned that situations in the 1,794-bed facility, located 45 miles east of Pueblo, were ripe for a riot.

Steve Owen, a spokesman for Corrections Corporation of America, said the prison no longer houses out-of-state inmates and that the lawsuit was settled for economic reasons.

"It was an obvious economic decision to reach this agreement rather than engage in the expense of defending 200 individual claims," Owen said. "We stand by our position that our staff acted appropriately."

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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