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California Prison Riot Injures 250

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By Caleb Groos on August 10, 2009 11:18 AM

A riot over the weekend at the prison in Chino, California injured 250 inmates and caused the lockdown of 9 other prisons.

The news regarding California's prisons continues to be bleak. Last week came the ruling that the state must trim its prison population by more than about 40,000 inmates. On Saturday night, one of those overpopulated prisons experienced a riot involving a reported 1300 inmates.

As the Chico Enterprise Recorder reports, the California Institute for Men in Chino currently has approximately 5,900 inmates. It was designed to contain 3,160.

The paper reports that this was the largest disturbance in a California prison since 2006. The riot engulfed 7 dormitory barracks, with one building heavily damaged by a fire set during the melee.

Though no members of prison staff were injured, 80 officers responded to the riot.

As prison spokesman Lt. Mark Hargrove told the New York Times, the riots may have resulted from racial tensions within the prison. The Times reports that Chino's prison is trying to implement the forced desegregation ordered in 2005 by the Supreme Court. For decades before that, prisoners were kept apart by race.

Lt. Hargrove also speculated that the riot could be connected to an incident between Hispanic and black prisoners in May.

The result is another blow to a beleaguered California prison system. Drastically overcrowded, underfunded (with further budget cuts to come), and now a prison in Chino with extensive damage.

Some from the barracks destroyed by fire are temporarily being held in tents, while others were sent to alternate prisons.

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