Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Update: California Institution for Men Returns to Normal Operation Following August 8 Riot

Ongoing Investigation Reveals Cause; Prison Issues 222 Rules Violations

Chino — The California Institution for Men (CIM) returned to normal program operation last week following the August 8 riot that left more than 240 inmates injured and destroyed two housing units at the prison.

Although the investigation is still ongoing, investigators with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Investigative Services Unit at CIM have determined that the incident was sparked by an ongoing feud between rival gangs.

CDCR officials have 25 cases pending referral to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution on charges that include attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and battery on an inmate with a deadly weapon. A total of 222 rules violations also have been issued on inmates by prison officials. One inmate was cited for arson for starting the fire that burned down the Joshua Hall dormitory.

There were no fatalities, no staff injuries, no escapes and no hostage situations during the incident. A total of 55 inmates were transported to area hospitals for treatment with 185 treated at CIM. Numerous other inmates were treated for minor injuries.

Following the riot, CDCR officials moved nearly 1,300 inmates to nearby Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino and four other state prisons. As of December 4, there were 792 CIM inmates housed at the Stark facility.

CIM was placed under modified program to limit inmate movement inside the prison to avoid future incidents. The prison was operating under a state of emergency until October 26. Normal operations began on Friday, December 4.

CIM plant operations staff began rebuilding destroyed dorms in the reception center west facility in early November. Construction to replace the nearly 1,800 beds damaged or destroyed in the riot is expected to be completed in September 2010 at a cost of $5.2 million. The Inmate Ward Labor Program is providing labor to limit costs.

CIM, which opened in 1941, serves as a reception center for parolees returning to custody and newly committed male felons from several Southern California counties. The reception center completes diagnostic tests, medical and mental health screening, and literacy assessments for classification to determine inmates’ appropriate institutional placement. The prison houses 5,507 inmates and employs approximately 2,100 people.