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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

100 Latino Inmates Resist Effort at Re-Integration

May 10, 2000

CASTAIC — More than 100 Latino inmates at Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic raised havoc again Monday night when authorities tried to re-integrate them with black inmates.

Inmates rammed steel bunk beds into walls, hurled milk cartons and rotten fruit at jail guards and barricaded themselves behind overturned beds when guards came to take them to an integrated dorm, said Sheriff's Lt. Gary Sinclair.

It took a squad of 10 deputies armed with tear gas and plastic grenades to quell the disturbance, but even afterward the inmates remained in a Latino-only dorm.

Jails at the Pitchess compound, which houses 10,000 inmates, were segregated after three days of back-to-back race riots two weeks ago injured 80 inmates. On Monday, authorities started to re-integrate the cell blocks. There were no problems initially as guards removed inmates from segregated dorms in small groups, but at 9:30 p.m. Monday Latino inmates in a Pitchess East dorm refused to leave. When deputies tried to extract them, they started rioting, Sinclair said. No one was hurt but some property was damaged, Sinclair said.

Authorities are now exploring ways to coax inmates into segregated dorms without using force, Sinclair said.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors asked Sheriff Lee Baca to report on ways to quell racial violence at Pitchess.

On a motion by Supervisor Mike Antonovich, the board asked Baca to report on possible long-term solutions, such as increasing supervision and reclassifying inmates' status and where they are sent.

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