250 Inmates Injured in California Prison Riot

More than three dozen inmates were released from hospitals Sunday after being involved in a racially motivated riot that badly damaged a Southern California prison and forced the lockdown of nine others.

The riot that erupted Saturday night sent 55 prisoners to the hospital and injured more than 250 inmates in all, officials said. Thirty-eight inmates were treated and were expected to return to the California Institution for Men in Chino, east of Los Angeles, by late Sunday, said Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman George Kostyrko, The Associated Press reports.

No prison employees were injured, no deaths were reported, and no inmates escaped, state officials said. But one housing unit was virtually destroyed by fire, said a spokesman, Lieutenant Mark Hargrove.

The other housing areas were so badly damaged that they were uninhabitable, he said, so some inmates were being temporarily housed in tents while others were sent to alternate prisons, The Boston Globe reports.

Meanwhile, this disturbance was the prison's most violent since a December 2006 uprising, in which 200 inmates rioted for 90 minutes. That racially charged incident was touched off by a fight between a Latino and an African-American, Xinhua reports.

The prison spokesman said officers had used batons, pepper spray and unspecified "lethal force options" to bring the housing units under control by 0700 on Sunday, BBC News reports.

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