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CA Prisoners Riot

On July 7, 1995, more than 250 prisoners at the Sierra Conservation Center (SCC), near Jamestown, CA, engaged in a brawl and riot at the 5,900 bed minimum security prison. The fight took place in the yard and housing units between white and Latino prisoners and left many injured with head injuries, cuts and bruises. None required hospitalization. No prison staff were reported injured. California Department of Corrections (CDC) spokespeople said the prisoners mainly used their fists and no weapons were used beyond crutches and a guitar. Guards fired several shots but didn't strike any prisoners. No reason or cause was cited as to why the incident took place. After the brawl some 240 prisoners were transferred to other prisons across the state, most notably to control units at Pelican Bay and Corcoran. SCC was placed on lockdown after the brawl; how a dormitory style prison is locked down we don't know.

The CDC remains massively overcrowded, at more than 176% of its rated capacity. Violence within the CDC is on the upswing according to CDC officials. On June 3, 1995, a prisoner at Folsom State Prison was critically injured in what the corporate media called a "racial conflict" involving more than 20 prisoners. On August 11, 1995, a prisoner was stabbed to death on the A Facility exercise yard. According to PLN readers at Folsom this was a "personal" incident and the resulting lockdown was brief.

Given the convergence of "tough" sentencing policies that are leading to massive overcrowding, a ballooning budget deficit, an inability to expand the prison system fast enough and efforts by the CDC and its legislative lackeys to eliminate modest privileges within the prison system such as family visiting, weight lifting, etc., we expect to be reporting more stories of this type in the future.

Sacramento Bee, July 11, 1995.

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