The State Worker

Almost 400 California prison inmates joined dorm-busting riot at north state camp

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.

About 350 more inmates than originally reported were involved in a riot at a state correctional facility last week, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The department published a news release Aug. 30 saying 40 inmates rioted at California Correctional Center in Susanville that morning. Those inmates broke out of five dorms and fought with other inmates, according to the release.

This week, the corrections department updated the release to say about 350 inmates in other dorms had attempted to break out and were igniting small fires in trash cans.

Those inmates “engaged in conduct likely to jeopardize institutional security,” according to the release.

“It was a very fluid situation” when the initial information was released last week, corrections department spokeswoman Terri Hardy said Friday.

Several correctional officers who responded were injured, and four were treated at outside hospitals, according to the release.

Friday’s release updated the number of inmates injured, saying nine were taken to outside hospitals for treatment. Four were treated and released, while five remain hospitalized, according to the release.

One of the hospitalized inmates is in fair condition and the other four are in good condition, the release states.

Movement at the facility remains restricted while the incident is investigated, according to the release. The Lassen County facility houses about 4,000 medium- and minimum-security inmates who work with Cal Fire on wildland conservation and firefighting projects.

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Wes Venteicher anchors The Bee’s popular State Worker coverage in the newspaper’s Capitol Bureau. He covers taxes, pensions, unions, state spending and California government. A Montana native, he reported on health care and politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh before joining The Bee in 2018.