The State Worker

2 injured in 50-inmate California Men’s Colony riot — the second in 2 days

How prison officials see changes implemented to overcome crowded facilities

In a California Department of Corrections video, prison officials talk about changes in the crowded system.
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In a California Department of Corrections video, prison officials talk about changes in the crowded system.

Inmates at the California Men’s Colony rioted on Thursday for the second day in a row, causing two injuries, according to state prison officials.

The riot occurred at the San Luis Obispo state prison about 1:06 p.m., when a group of approximately 35 inmates rushed another 15 inmates in the Facility A recreation yard, said a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) news release.

The yard is a medium-custody area, according to past Tribune stories.

Correctional officers responded to the area where the fights were taking place and ordered the inmates to stop multiple times, the news release. The inmates did not comply, and observation tower officers fired two warning shots from their state-issued rifles.

Emergency responders also used light and sound diversionary devices and non-lethal projectiles to stop the fighting, the release said.

No staff members were injured, but two inmates were transported to the hospital for treatment, according to the release.

One inmate was struck in the head and knocked unconscious, and the non-life threatening injuries to the other inmate were not confirmed.

A riot broke out in the same yard on Wednesday afternoon, and investigators believe the fights were linked.

During that incident, at least four inmates sustained slashing or stabbing-type wounds. At least two inmate-manufactured weapons were recovered at the scene.

The Investigative Services Unit at the prison is looking into the incidents, and inmate movement at Facility A has been limited during the investigation.

Prior to these back-to-back events, the last riot at CMC occurred in September 2017, when one prisoner was killed and multiple were stabbed in a melee that involved some 160 inmates.

Tribune reporter Matt Fountain contributed to this story.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She also covers communities in northern San Luis Obispo County. Lindsey became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. She’s a native Californian raised in the Midwest and is a proud graduate of two Chicago schools: DePaul University and Northwestern University.