ActivePaper Archive Serious assaults at GEO prison - Hobbs News Sun, 8/17/2019

Serious assaults at GEO prison

Four inmates stabbed or beaten, but victims stay mum


JEFF TUCKER/NEWS-SUN Four prisoners were assaulted this month at the Lea County Correctional Facility, managed by The GEO Group.

One inmate at the Lea County Correctional Facility was stabbed multiple times, one was beaten unconscious with a skull fracture, another prisoner was severely beaten, and a fourth inmate was assaulted in a string of assaults earlier this month that resulted in the Hobbs prison being placed on lockdown.

On Aug. 5, Hobbs police responded to the prison at 6900 W. Millen Drive after a male inmate had been beaten unconscious, states an incident report from the Hobbs Police Department obtained by the News-Sun.

Police said the inmate was found by correctional officers lying on the floor with an apparent skull fracture and was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police said GEO Group staff, which operates the medium-security prison for male state inmates, had video of the assault.

Police said the video showed the inmate was confronted by six other inmates, who began striking the victim numerous times in the head with their feet and hands, while some served as lookouts.

Police said they then learned of a different assault in a different cell block in which an inmate was battered, with severe injuries in the facial and head areas.

“I observed his face to have numerous bruises and extreme swelling around his eyes and mouth,” states the police report. “The other parties involved in this incident were not identified.”

Police said a third inmate had been stabbed in another cell block with a knife or cutting instrument. Police said that victim was stabbed by an inmate four times in an arm and once in the abdomen area.

“I was informed that three other inmates were involved as well,” states the police report.

Police said several inmates got into a physical altercation after the stabbing, with one of them also suffering injuries.

A Hobbs police detective and crime scene technician responded to the local hospital to speak with the victim of the skull fracture, and then went to the prison to talk to the other victims.

“None of them wish to speak with (the detective) about any of the incidents,” states the police report.

A GEO spokesperson on Tuesday confirmed there had been an inmate-on-inmate incident the late afternoon of Aug. 5 that resulted in one inmate being transported off-site for medical attention.

“The housing area where the incident occurred remains on lockdown to ensure public, staff, and inmate safety,” the spokesperson said. “There were no staff injuries.”

Opened in 1998 at the former Hobbs Army Airfield four miles northwest of Hobbs, the 1,200-inmate capacity prison is operated by the private GEO Group under a contract to house State of New Mexico inmates.

Jeff Tucker may be reached at managingeditor@hobbsnews. com.