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All SoCal prisons on lockdown after riot

August 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
All Southern California prisons are on lockdown after a massive riot Saturday at the California Institution for Men in Chino.The riot broke out at around 8:30 p.m. in the Reception Center West Facility. It was contained to the west facility, which houses about 1,300 medium security level inmates incarcerated for probation violations. The seven housing units in the facility are dormitory style, so inmates are not in cells.

The fighting began in the housing units. The inmates busted out the windows and made it outside, where the fighting continued. Many inmates used the broken glass as a weapon.

The inmates set fire to one of the eight houses in the facility, deemed a total loss.

Prison guards and neighboring police and fire departments responded to the prison. They treated the injured inmates and restrained the other inmates.

More than 200 inmates were injured in the fighting. Fifty-five were transported to area hospitals with serious injuries including head trauma and stab wounds. The names of the injured inmates have not yet been released.

No prison staff members or police were injured as a result of the incident.

The inmates are now being housed in different facilities on the property. Some have been placed in temporary housing, called holding tanks.

"They are separated by race at this point because as a precaution because we're not sure exactly what the cause of the incident was, therefore we separate them by race until we make a determination that it's not a racial factor," said Lt. Mark Hargrove, prison spokesperson. "At this point we don't have any information that leads us to believe one way or the other."

The California Institution for Men in Chino had been on lockdown since Thursday because prison authorities got information that there was going to be a riot over the weekend.

As of Sunday morning, all Southern California prisons are on lockdown and visitation has been suspended until further notice.

The California Institution for Men is going to try to update its Web site and visiting hours hotline so that family members can get more information.

Central Avenue is back open after being shut down for about 12 hours.

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