- Published on Thursday, 15 March 2012 13:18
39 inmates face attempted murder charges
Daily Elk Citian
The riot at North Fork Correctional Facility began as a two-man fight but quickly escalated into a facility-wide battle that involved hundreds of prisoners.
On several occasions, large groups of belligerent inmates cornered smaller groups and used their fists, feet and items described as "weapons of opportunity" during the seven hours of unrest.
These and other details of the October 11 riot are coming into focus as Corrections Corporation of America, the company that operates the private prison in Sayre, comes closer to requesting criminal charges against the inmates that participated.
Of the 243 inmates who were issued rules violation reports for their participation in the riot, 39 face a charge of attempted murder, according to documents released by California prison officials to San Diego City Beat, a newspaper that has been covering the riot from the inmates' home state. The City Beat then provided the documents to The Daily Elk Citian.
The violations were listed in the October 2011 Disciplinary Action Log, an internal document used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to classify incidents that occur within a prison.
According to a narrative, 25 inmates allegedly used a weapon and three assaulted an inmate with a deadly weapon.
So far, no criminal charges have been filed.
Beckham County District Attorney Dennis Smith was out of the office for the week and could not be reached, but the City Beat reported that his office has received a report from CCA's investigators and is reviewing its 2,300 pages of information. The charges would be filed in district court.
So far, CCA has cut off any virtually all information about the riot to the public, citing investigational concerns.
All of the inmates at North Fork were convicted for crimes committed in California. They were sent to North Fork to ease overcrowding in California's public prisons. CCA is paid $61 a day - per inmate - to oversee the prisoners.
For an expanded version of this story, see the Thursday, March 15, 2012 issue of The Daily Elk Citian.