A riot that left 17 inmates injured at a private prison in California’s Mojave Desert may have been triggered by the arrival of a “snitch” in violation of usual procedures, the Los Angeles Times says.
A preliminary investigation suggests that a violent brawl between white and Latino inmates broke out after a white informant was attacked in the prison yard, said Marvin Wiebe of Houston-based Cornell Cos. Inc., which runs the prison. He said that informant usually are not sent to private prisons, which lack protective custody arrangements.
The disturbance escalated because of a policy that bars guards at private prisons from using force to quell a violent uprising, said the California Department of Corrections.
There was no “heads up” about the newly transferred inmate, which often happens with a prisoner who may merit special attention, Wiebe said.
The 288-bed prison is a collection of single-story structures with flat roofs that resembles an old elementary school, surrounded by high fences, rimmed with razor wire. California sends low-risk inmates there, such as those convicted of drug possession or burglary.