After the Chino prison riot
Letters from Chino prison inmates
Over three days, KPCC investigates allegations of inmate mistreatment at the California Institution for Men in Chino following a bloody 11-hour riot Aug. 8, 2009. The riot left some 200 men injured. It took authorities until sunrise to contain the violence.
Letters from Chino Prison montage
Two housing blocks were demolished, making the prison’s bad overcrowding problem even worse. Each dormitory was at double capacity. About 1,300 inmates were left without bunk space.
In interviews and in letters obtained by KPCC, inmates complained of being kept outdoors in punishing heat and the freezing overnight cold for up to four days after the riot. Other inmates say they were held under similar conditions months before the riot. Others claim the prison continues to house prisoners in unsanitary, unsafe conditions in order to deal with a dramatic shortage of bed space.
In remarks made during a tour of the prison last summer, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called the riot “a terrible symptom of a much larger problem, a much larger illness.” It highlights a system in crisis, he said.
KPCC examines the aftermath of the Chino prison riot.
During the reporting of this project, questions raised by KPCC’s Steven Cuevas, about inmates being repeatedly held outdoors for long stretches, prompted a new investigation by the state Office of the Inspector General. Authorities are now looking at how and where the prison bunked inmates before and after the riot.
Chino Prison Riot Timeline
These are the events leading up to and immediately following the riot - according to news reports, prison officials and witness accounts.