Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chino Riot and Overcrowding

(image courtesy L.A. Times blog)

Some sources, this morning, link the Chino riot to overcrowding. The New York Times editorial piece refers to the three-judge-panel:

Officials are still investigating, but a major cause is already clear: 5,900 men were being held in a facility designed for 3,000. The violence should serve as a warning to officials across the country not to try to balance state budgets by holding inmates in inhumane conditions.

The L.A. Times Blog provides provides some more specific background on the Chino situation, including the racial issues, here and here.

The disturbance, reportedly sparked by racial tensions between Latino and black inmates, appeared likely to deal a setback to efforts by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to desegregate the teeming “reception centers” in the state’s 33-prison network that house incoming prisoners and probation violators.

But it remains unclear what role, if any, the Supreme Court decision played in the Chino problem. [Terry] Thornton [speaker for CDCR] said the court ruling only applied to prisoners in cells. The violence in Chino broke out in an area where prisoners are housed in baracks, which she said was not covered by the decision. Only two prisons with cells have been integrated since the 2005 ruling, and Chino is not among them, she said.

Thornton said the 1,100 inmates were either waiting to be transferred or en route to one of four institutions: the Calipatria State Prison in Imperial County, the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad and the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino.

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