California prisons rocked by problems
Chino Mayor Dennis Yates said the dilapidated prison dormitory where Friday's fight between inmates took place was built to house 60 men but holds nearly 200.
"It's a ticking bomb down there," he said.
The California Correctional Institution, where Thursday's attack on the guards took place, has been expanded to hold about 2,800 inmates. It currently has about 4,700 inmates but held about 5,500 just a few weeks ago.
Assaults on inmates and staff increased statewide, along with the size of the prison population, from 6,225 in 1997 to 9,090 in 2006, corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said. At the same time, the number involving weapons declined from 2,123 to 1,869.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A stabbing attack this week on four guards at one overcrowded state prison and a racially sparked brawl at another mark the type of violence that guards, inmates' attorneys and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have been worried about for years.
The violence comes at a critical juncture for the nation's largest state prison system.
Later this year, a panel of federal judges will consider whether the crowding has become so severe that the state must cap the inmate population or release some prisoners early.
At the same time, lawmakers are considering a Schwarzenegger proposal to save money for the deficit-ridden state by releasing more than 20,000 inmates before their sentences end.
"For the last two years, we've said something worse than this was inevitable," said Chuck Alexander, executive vice president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, referring to this week's prison unrest. "It's just a matter of where and when it's going to hit. In our view, it's a precursor of what's to come."