The FBI is investigating charges that the warden of the Lompoc, Ca., federal prison has taken control away from guards and handed it to inmates, the Los Angeles Times reports. The guard union accuses Warden Alvaro Herrera of discriminating against “non-Hispanics” and thus emboldening inmates in the high-security facility. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons says Herrera practices “the highest standards of correctional management.”
In a riot at the prison June 1, eight guards were hospitalized and 20 others received minor injuries. One prisoner was injured. A lawyer for the guards union has warned Attorney General John Ashcroft that “drastic action by the [prison]bureau is warranted to avert incidents that could result in injury.”
The Times says that the prison bureau plans to close the high-security area at Lompoc and transfer about 1,430 inmates there to a new federal penitentiary in Victorville. The Lompoc facility encompasses both a medium-security institution with 1,520 prisoners and the high-security unit.