Soledad prison riot leaves nearly 60 injured

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LOS ANGELES — A riot at a Central California prison Wednesday morning injured nearly 60 people and sent eight of them to the hospital, authorities said.

Around 200 inmates began fighting at a medium-custody recreation yard at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.

Guards used rifle warning shots, tear gas and non-lethal weapons to quickly break up the fighting but only one group of inmates complied with orders to lie on the ground, the release said.

The other group, which was a little larger than the first, ignored the orders for about 12 minutes until staff from two other nearby prisons arrived, officials said.

No staff members were hurt but about 50 inmates were treated for minor injuries. Another eight were taken to hospitals with injuries including stab and slash wounds and bruises. All were expected to survive.

Four inmate-made weapons were also recovered.

The cause of the rioting was under investigation, corrections department spokesman Lt. Carlos Espinoza said.

Espinoza said the riot was "very similar" in size to a previous riot at the same prison in October.

The facility, opened in 1946, houses approximately 5,400 minimum and medium-custody inmates.

There also have been several riots and brawls recently at the Salinas Valley State Prison, located just 1.4 miles (2.25 kilometers) away. Two inmates were stabbed there Saturday. Four inmates were stabbed there during a 25-person riot in early July.

Espinoza said officials have not linked the latest riot to the others.

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