Inmate stabbed to death during gang fight in jail

July 12, 2011 in News

Derek Criddle

GREENWOOD – Police Chief Henry Purnell said an inmate was stabbed to death in prison and several others seriously injured in what appears to be a gang-related fight. Purnell said about 6:35 p.m. on July 6, a fight broke out in an open pod at Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) on County Road 540 in Greenwood.

Purnell said there were about 50 inmates inside the pod and during the course of the brawl 26-year old Derek Criddle was stabbed numerous times.

Cassandra Swims, Facility Public Information Officer for CCA, said the inmates had just returned from their evening meal and employees moved quickly to secure the scene.

“[The] staff responded immediately,” Swims said, “and the incident ended quickly. Per standard protocol, the facility was placed on lockdown status, which means that all inmates are restricted to their housing areas with only escorted movement allowed in the facility. This step enables staff to further assess if other inmates require medical care, and also aids the ongoing efforts of investigators.”

Swims said Criddle was the only fatality and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Facility medical staff also responded to provide medical assessment and treatment for injured inmates until local EMS services could arrive on site. [Criddle] was pronounced deceased by EMS officials.”

Criddle’s identity was initially withheld pending notification to his nearest relative.

The other five inmates stabbed during the fight were: Joshua Hughes, Christopher Keys, Johnny Bonner, James Jones and Desmond Harrison.

“Those inmates were transported off-site to local and regional hospitals for treatment of various injuries and one additional inmate was treated on-site for his injuries,” Swims said. “There were no injuries to the staff.”

Hughes, Keys and Bonner were flown to UMC in Jackson with serious injuries and Jones and Harrison were later released from Greenwood Leflore Hospital and returned to CCA, which is a 30-acre privately-owned institution in partnership with Leflore County and the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Purnell said Criddle was originally from Grenada and he was in jail serving a 25-year prison term for armed robbery in Grenada County.

The Delta correctional facility is a 1,172-bed medium-security prison.

No suspects have been charged as of yet, and the fight remains under investigation