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Los Angeles prison riot attributed to racial tension

[JURIST] A four-hour prison riot in Los Angeles County on Saturday was the result of racial tension, county Sheriff Lee Baca [official website] said Sunday. The riot, in which 2,000 inmates participated, took place at the maximum-security North County Correctional Facility [official website] in Castaic, California between black and Latino prisoners. One inmate was killed and over 40 injured. Officials cited retaliation for the stabbing of a Latino man at a downtown jail as the possible catalyst. The issue of racial tension in the California prison system came before the US Supreme Court [official website] in 2005, when the Court ruled in Johnson v. California [opinion] that state prisons cannot temporarily segregate inmates by race [JURIST report], except in the most extraordinary circumstances. The California Department of Corrections [official website] had previously had an unwritten policy of racially segregating inmates to prevent gang violence. Baca told reporters Sunday that he had re-segregated 200 prisoners to forestall further trouble, a move which drew support from community leaders [KABC report]. The Los Angeles Times has more.

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