KPCC reports on the riots at Chino prison

Starting in late September, KPCC posed questions about the challenges the state, the prison workforce and the inmate population will face as state prisons undergo significant changes this year – rehab and education programs are getting cut, there are court orders to reduce the prison population and improve medical care. 

One of the earliest notes they got was from a woman who reported that her husband had been caught up in the August 8, 2009 prison riot at Chino Institution for Men. She was very worried about him and said he had been mistreated in the days after the riot. He had been held outdoors in a metal cage with other men for several days, with only boxer shorts and shoes for protection from the burning August sun and cold at night. She said she believed several men were killed. KPCC reporting did not confirm deaths, but reporter Steven Cuevas made contact with several sources who said their relatives had the same experience. One of the sources had collected a large number of inmate reports.

Those insights and Steven’s reporting have prompted the state Inspector General to open an inquiry into potential mistreatment of inmates. KPCC will follow that to see where it goes. The series began running this week. It includes letters from inmates collected by a person whose close relative was caught up in the Chino riot. There is video of Chino prison, photos of the damage, and an audio feature to hear excerpts from some of the letters.