Crime & Justice

Chino prison riots triggered by ongoing fight among inmates

The aftermath of a prison riot inside the California Institution for Men prison is seen on August 19, 2009 in Chino, California.
The aftermath of a prison riot inside the California Institution for Men prison is seen on August 19, 2009 in Chino, California.
Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images

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A riot at a prison in southern California that left more than 200 inmates injured last summer was triggered by an ongoing street war. State prison officials have issued a report on the riot.

The report concluded the riot in August actually was a continuation of a fight that began at the Chino men’s prison in May between black and Hispanic gangs. For decades, California prison officials segregated inmates by race, but a Supreme Court ruling in 2005 ended that practice. It’s a work in progress – the Corrections Department is testing an integration plan at two prisons near Sacramento, with mixed results.

It could get worse with anticipated layoffs of prison guards next year. More than 200 Chino inmates could face longer sentences given their roles in the August riot. Beyond that, prison officials identified two dozen who could face new charges of attempted murder, conspiracy, and arson – one dormitory was burned down, another destroyed.