At least 18 inmates were injured and a building set on fire last night as 100 prisoners rioted at a privately run California prison in the Mojave Desert. The Los Angeles Times says it was the second riot in six weeks at a privately run prison in the area. An Oct. 25 disturbance at a lockup in eastern Riverside County left two convicts dead.
A Fire Department spokesman said most of the injuries at the Cornell Correctional Facility were stab wounds. Five prisoners were airlifted to hospitals for treatment, and 13 others were transported by ambulance.
The riot started after two inmates started arguing in a yard where games are played, said one source. Officials said order was restored within two hours and the fire was put out.
The prison is located near Baker, Ca., a town known for a towering thermometer that often records summer temperatures near 120 degrees. The 262-bed medium security prison, which opened in 1988, handles inmates under a state contract. There have been no previous reports of major disturbances.