A prison riot in Chino, Calif., that left more than 200 inmates injured over the weekend was fueled by racial tensions and crowding in an aging facility that has been crippled by the state’s budget woes and lack of improvements, a politician told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. The violence, which began at 8:20 p.m. Saturday as a fight between black and Latino inmates, involved 1,300 of the prison’s 5,900 inmates who were housed in military-style wooden barracks. Fifty-five inmates were seriously injured, and a dormitory was burned.
Curt Hagman, the local state assemblyman, said the riot is another indication that the state Legislature needs to take steps to reduce prison crowding and improve rehabilitation for re-offenders. He said politicians can’t erase the racial tensions in prisons, but policies that reduce overcrowding would limit the number of inmates involved in riots. The violence erupted among medium-security inmates in a reception facility where new arrivals are processed. Under court mandate, the Chino facility has tried to eliminate systematic racial segregation of prison inmates, after more than three decades of racial separation in the corrections system.