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Dispatches from the Inside: Gang violence erupts again in the CMC

California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation

Richard Gilliam is incarcerated at the California Men's Colony (CMC).

August 29, 2012

Prison officials released approximately thirty Northern and Southern Hispanic inmates from their dormitories, where they had been confined after fighting broke out three weeks ago between members of these two groups, onto the West facility's F Yard on Tuesday. The ensuing melee, which erupted within minutes, took several moments to contain and disrupted operations within the entire facility. 

Two hours later, the entire West facility was placed on a restricted program while F Yard remained on lockdown. The long-standing animosity between these two groups goes back decades. Prison officials are fully aware that placing these prisoners within proximity to each other is an invitation to conflict. The participants in this latest incident suffered non-life threatening slash wounds, abrasions and contusions, and were removed for treatment and rehousing. 

The repeated commingling  of adversarial groups by prison officials is reminiscent of the staged "Gladiator fights" which rocked Corcoran Prison in the 1980's and 90's. CMC's administration's actions have become so questionable that rank and file officers have voiced their concern's. The entire West facility remained on modified program.