(StraightNews.org) – Eight corrections officers were hospitalized in California following a riot at Ironwood State Prison in Blythe. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said that around 200 inmates attacked the officers with “fists and rocks” while they were transporting a prisoner accused of holding contraband. The riot broke out after that inmate headbutted an officer, and reports state that authorities used “chemical agents and non-lethal impact rounds” to bring the situation under control.
Around 30 prisoners were identified as the ringleaders, and investigations continue. Following the disorder, a 23-hour “modified programming” protocol was instituted across California, and activities inside Ironwood will be restricted until investigations conclude. The eight officers were released from hospital the same day.
Prison riots are relatively rare and have decreased over the past few decades. In Texas in February, a judge sentenced a prisoner to life in jail plus 60 years for killing a fellow inmate during an uprising in Tecumseh State Prison in Nebraska in 2017, but there have been few fatalities since that time.
The deadliest jail riot in US history took place in Attica in 1971 when inmates took control of the New York prison in protest at substandard living conditions. The prisoners took 42 corrections officers hostage, and a stand-off with New York State Police lasted for four days. The police eventually took the prison back by force, killing 29 inmates. The overall death toll was 43.
Since then, notorious cases include the Moundsville, West Virginia incident when 20 prisoners stormed the dining hall and took officers hostage, stripped them and dressed them in inmate’s uniforms, blindfolded them, and left them in cells throughout the facility. The stand-off lasted 52 hours and ended with three people dead.
In New Mexico in 1980, 33 people were killed in a prison riot, but since the 1980s, the regularity of these incidents has fallen from 93 riots for every 1 million prisoners in 1973 to approximately three riots by 2003.
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