FBI: Critical Incident: Louisiana Prison Riots | 2001
In December 1999, six Cuban inmates at the St. Martinville prison in Louisiana, used homemade knives to take several guards hostage, and then used the guards to take over the prison control room. They demanded to be freed or sent back to Cuba on the premise that they had finished serving sentences for their crimes but were being held in legal limbo -- immigration wanted to deport them, and the U.S. has no extradition treaty with Cuba. With the world watching, the head of the FBI in New Orleans, Charles Mathews, his chief negotiator Neil Purtrell, and newswoman Maria Placer, worked to negotiate the freedom of the hostages. The standoff ended after six days of negotiations when one of the inmates' mothers persuaded the Cuban government to repatriate the inmates. She then talked her son and the other inmates into releasing their hostages and surrendering to the police.