California Prison riot injures hundreds!

Legal news for California criminal law attorneys. A massive riot broke out at a California prison leaving hundreds injured.

California criminal law attorney alert- A riot at the California Institution for Men results in injuries and a fire.

San Bernardino, CA—A massive riot ignited between Latino and African American prisoners at the California Institution for Men in Chino, which injured 250 prisoners and hospitalized 55 others. The riot started on Saturday night at 8:20 p.m., and continued into Sunday morning, as reported by The New York Times.

The violent riot continued for 11-hours at the barrack-style dormitory, where guards watched inmates break glass and used the shards of glass as knives to attack each other. The prisoners were seen grabbing anything they could as weapons, including breaking pipes off walls. Makeshift barricades were reportedly erected by prisoners out of broken bunk beds, desks, and pieces of furniture to protect themselves from additional harm. The chaos inside the Reception Center West of the prison was so intense, the guards were forced to set off an alarm and retreat until backup could arrive. Within thirty minutes, 80 members of a crisis response team arrived, but the battle was so violent they were unable to enter the barrack. As the intensity of the riot slowed down, guards were able to enter the dormitory and resume control. Prison guards and crisis response teams reportedly used pepper spray, batons, and foam projectiles to remove inmates from the barracks who barricaded themselves inside. Reports indicate more than 250 prisoners sustained injuries, which included small cuts, serious stab wounds, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A total of 55 inmates were hospitalized due to their injuries sustained in the mass brawl.

A fire reportedly broke out during the fighting which burnt down one dormitory, causing so much damage it is listed as uninhabitable. In total, the damage to the prison was so extensive that most of the unit’s barracks are also uninhabitable. Reportedly, no prison guards or employees were hurt in the riot, and there were no escapes by prisoners. Officials put 10 state prison systems on lockdown to prevent the turmoil from spreading throughout California’s prisons. Inmates who lived in the damaged dormitories are currently being housed in tents or alternate prisons. Prison officials stated it is unknown what exactly set off the riot, but there were no complaints or demands made by the prisoners towards the guards. The Los Angeles Times reported a fight between a Latino and a African American sparked the brawl.

The California Institution for Men implemented the 2005 ruling made by the U.S. Supreme Court, which prohibits automatic racial segregation of inmates. The growing number of black, Latino, and white prisoners is causing racial tensions inside the shared cells, which could have ignited the fight. California’s prison system is reportedly the most crowded system in the nation. The facilities are currently housing twice the amount of inmates they were initially designed for. In recent rulings by the U.S. government, California prison system is to reduce inmate holdings by 40,000 within two years. This measure is to ensure the wellbeing of prisoners, overcrowding, and to help with providing adequate health care to prisoners.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley- Legal news for California lawyers specializing in criminal law.