- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Corrections Department is nearly done refilling a privately operated state prison in Kingman with inmates following repairs to damage to the facility from rioting last summer.

The final 360 inmates housed elsewhere temporarily will be transferred from the Pinal County jail in Florence at the end of March.

“This will mark the final resolution of that period,” said Andrew Wilder, a department spokesman.

The rioting in July caused nearly $2 million in damages that forced the state to move about 1,200 prisoners to other prisons as well as jails in Apache, Navajo, Pinal and Santa Cruz counties, according to a department report.

Inmates different from those who were at the Kingman prison last summer are now refilling the affected unit at the Kingman prison. That’s because of churn within the prison system’s inmate population and a reclassification of that unit to house sex offenders.

With the repairs, all 3,400 cells in the Kingman prison are once again available, Wilder said. “The beds are there. The inmates are almost completely located there,” he said.

The rioting and a subsequent investigation by the department prompted Gov. Doug Ducey to fire the company then operating the prison. A new contractor has been hired.

The department’s report on its investigation cited a “culture of disorganization, disengagement, and disregard of ADC policies and fundamental inmate management and security principles.”

The former contractor, Management and Training Corp., disputed the report’s conclusions.

The unrest began July 1 in a minimum-security unit when private corrections officers tried to stop an inmate-on-inmate assault. A full-blown riot broke out the next day in the prison’s medium-security unit. It left some housing units so badly damaged that more than 1,100 prisoners had to be moved to other facilities.

Nine corrections officers suffered minor injuries.

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