Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility

Coordinates: 41°53′33″N 71°23′02″W / 41.89250°N 71.38389°W / 41.89250; -71.38389
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Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility
LocationCentral Falls, Rhode Island
Capacity730 males, 40 females
Managed byCentral Falls Detention Facility Corporation

The Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility was established in 1993 as the nation’s first publicly owned and privately operated adult secure correctional facility and is currently operated by the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation. This special non-profit, quasi-public detention facility was developed for use by the United States Marshal Service (USMS) in the Northeast and was later extended to include the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from 2005 to 2008 and again starting in 2019.[1] Beginning in October 2011, the facility began serving the United States Navy, housing Navy personnel who have been placed in the custody of the General Court-Martial Convening Authority (GCMC). The facility operates at maximum security utilizing an architectural and high-tech design and construction containment system. A $47 million expansion was completed in December 2006 and increased the maximum occupancy from 300 all-male housing to its current capacity of 770 including a 40-bed unit for female detainees.[2] It is the corporation's only facility.


The facility was the very first privately run detention center in the United States.[3] The prison was built in the city of Central Falls, Rhode Island. The city of Central Falls contributed funds towards its construction.[2] The prison was created to generate employment in order to replace industrial jobs from closed textile mills.

Officers are paid $22 an hour in conjunction with shift differentials and roll call incentives while completing their probationary first year of employment. Officers are given an additional wage increase upon successful completion of their one-year probationary period. Officers and Sergeants employed by the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility are represented by the Fraternal Order of Police lodge # 50.


Protests against the Wyatt started when the facility renewed its contract with ICE in March, 2019.[1] On March 28, a group of local activists from Central Falls led a march from City Hall to the detention center.[4] That summer, the Jewish organization Never Again Action organized a protest on July 3,[5][6] at which 18 people were arrested, and another protest on August 14, at which a Wyatt employee drove his truck into the crowd.[7] Since then, a variety of local groups have continued protesting the facility.[8] [9] [10] [11]


James Morales was discovered missing from the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls on Saturday, Dec. 31 2016, at around 10 p.m. He had been detained at the facility since Dec. 3, 2015, on federal criminal charges brought in U.S. District Court in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Since the escape was reported to law enforcement by the Wyatt staff, federal, state and local authorities in multiple jurisdictions investigated and analyzed numerous leads on Morales’ potential whereabouts. Additionally, law enforcement continues to analyze and follow up on information gathered from locations Morales may have visited since his escape, as well as from evidence seized by law enforcement.

Morales is a former U.S. Army reservist who was being held for allegedly stealing six assault rifles and 10 handguns from the Lincoln Stoddard Army Reserve Center in Worcester in 2015.

It is believed that Morales fled into Attleboro, where a Massachusetts State Police dog followed his trail to an overpass, where bloody prison clothing was found. Authorities believe Morales got into a car at that point.

According to police, Morales may also have stolen a green Chevrolet Lumina with Rhode Island license plate 408696 from a Burger King lot in Attleboro at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday.[12]

Morales was captured five days after his escape by a Massachusetts State Trooper and two Somerville Police detectives in Somerville following a foot pursuit, after Morales attempted to rob a Bank of America in Somerville, Mass.


Death of Hiu Lui Ng- Hiu Lui "Jason" Ng, an immigrant from China, was an ICE Detainee who died while in custody of the Donald W. Wyatt Facility.[2] The official cause of his death was cancer. In February 2009, the Rhode Island ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ng's family, alleging “cruel, inhumane, malicious and sadistic behavior” against him. In 2012, the lawsuit was settled, with a multi-million dollar payment to the family.[13]

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency withdrew its remaining 153 prisoners from the facility in mid-December 2008, following an inquiry into Ng's death.[2]

The prison continues to house inmates of the United States Marshal Service and of the United States Navy's General Court-Martial Convening Authority (GCMC), and on March 10, 2019, it renewed its contract with ICE.[14][1]


  1. ^ a b c "Wyatt Detention Facility: A timeline of events leading to protests, arrests, and truck driver incident". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on 2020-12-16. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  2. ^ a b c d "RI mayor fires prison leader for Guantanamo remark". Boston Herald. 2009-04-28. Archived from the original on 2009-04-29.
  3. ^ James L L Dickerson (2010). Inside America's Concentration Camps: Two Centuries of Internment and Torture. Chicago Review Press. p. 260. ISBN 9781569767481. Retrieved 2013-09-06. The Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, the first privately owned detention center in the country, was built to house about six hundred federal prisoners designated by the U.S. Marshals Service as meeting one of three criteria: detainees awaiting trial on immigration charges, detainees awaiting deportation, or detainees awaiting transportation into the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  4. ^ "Protesters, Central Falls officials seek Wyatt shutdown over ICE detainees' return". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on 2019-03-30. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  5. ^ "18 arrested in Never Again protest of Wyatt's ICE role". Providence Journal. July 2, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  6. ^ "18 arrested during immigration protest at Wyatt Detention Facility". WPRI Eyewitness News. July 3, 2019. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  7. ^ "Corrections Officer Who Struck Rhode Island Protesters with Pickup Truck Resigns".
  8. ^ "Protesters call for Wyatt's abolition". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on 2020-01-22. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  9. ^ "'Car rally' protests Central Falls jail, asks detainees' release because of coronavirus". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on 2020-04-13. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  10. ^ "We Keep Us Safe: The election day march to shut down the Wyatt". Uprise RI. Archived from the original on 2020-11-19. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  11. ^ "Demonstrators blockade roads to Wyatt Detention Center, Demand closure of the facility". Uprise RI. Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  12. ^ "Hunt for 'extremely dangerous' inmate goes national". Archived from the original on 2017-01-05. Retrieved 2023-09-15.
  13. ^ "ACLU Settles Lawsuit on Behalf of Family of Wyatt Center Detainee Who Died in Custody; Suit Alleged "Cruel, Inhumane, Malicious and Sadistic Behavior"".
  14. ^ "Wyatt Detention Facility | History". Archived from the original on 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2014-02-19.

External links[edit]

41°53′33″N 71°23′02″W / 41.89250°N 71.38389°W / 41.89250; -71.38389