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Centinela's main facilities, maximum security unit on lockdown after melees

February 23, 2001|By KELLY RAUSCH, Staff Writer

Nearly all of Centinela State Prison remained on lockdown status today in the wake of a violent inmate outbreak Wednesday that left 11 correctional officers injured, including five who were stabbed.

For the time being, all four main facilities, including the one maximum security facility where the incidents occurred, will remain on lockdown, said prison Public Information Officer Deavonne Long this morning.

The uninvolved areas will be reevaluated Monday to determine if the lockdown can be lifted, Long said.

The prison's non-violent offenders, housed in a unit outside the main security fence, are not on lockdown, Long said.

During the lockdown, prisoners remain mostly in their cells with all programs suspended, Long said.

Prisoners are still allowed to shower every 72 hours and can receive medical attention as required by law, Long said.

The loss of inmate labor has staff members, including program teachers, working together to prepare sack lunches for inmates, Long said.

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In the Level 4 facility, inmates are fed in their cells while other facilities are on modified feeding programs, Long said.

Prison officials are continuing an intensive search of the Level 4 facility maximum security yard. The unaffected facilities are still subject to routine searches, but are not part of the intensive search, Long said.

Three weapons have been recovered in the Level 4 facility, Long said.

"I wouldn't call it a riot," Long said of Wednesday's incidents.

"It was basically a series of events," Long said.

The eight inmates involved in the attacks were all serving sentences for violent crimes, Long said. All eight inmates were transferred to the California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi in Kern County, a Level 4 facility, she said.

Long, who said she was advised not to release the names of the inmates involved, said two are serving life sentences without possibility of parole for first-degree murder.

One inmate was serving a 35-year to life term and the other five were serving terms ranging from seven to 44 years.

Two of the inmates are convicted sex offenders, and one each was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, first-degree robbery and second-degree robbery.

The inmates, whose ages range from 25- to 38-years, were all from Los Angeles County, except one from San Diego County.

The inmates could face charges of attempted murder and assault and battery for the attacks.

Of the 11 correctional officers injured, several were back at work Thursday, Long said.

All are expected back Monday or Tuesday, Long said.

"For an incident of this size, we're so fortunate no one was more seriously injured," Long said.

It is the prison's policy not to release the names of officers who have been victims of crimes in the prison out of respect for their privacy, Long said.

Staff Writer Kelly Rausch can be reached at 337-3441.

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