Crime & Justice

300 inmates involved in Kern prison riot

Kern Valley State Prison
Kern Valley State Prison

A large-scale riot involving around 300 inmates broke out at Kern Valley State Prison around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. Several inmates received stab and puncture wounds.

The riot began when members of the Crips gang and a group of Latino inmates "just went at each other" in the Section A exercise yard, Lt. Jeff Smith said.

"We don't know yet if all were involved," Smith said. "Right now it looks like everyone [in the yard] was doing something."

Officers shot two warning shots from rifles.

The riot took 10 to 15 minutes to end, which, Smith added, "in prison time during a riot is forever."

"That's a really long time," said Smith. "I'm actually amazed that there weren't more serious injuries."

Officials are still awaiting estimates for the number of inmates injured, but all the wounds reported so far have been minor. Section A of the prison is currently on lockdown, but the other two sections are operating as usual.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation blog, Kern Valley State Prison houses approximately 4,800 minimum, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates.

None of the prisoners' injuries were life threatening; no staff members were injured.