Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Two inmates from L.A. detained in attack on guards at Pelican Bay State Prison

Pelican Bay State Prison was placed on indefinite lockdown Tuesday after at least two inmates, both convicted of crimes in Los Angeles, allegedly attacked three prison guards with homemade weapons, state corrections officials said.

The union representing the state's 31,000 prison guards said two officers required dozens of stitches after suffering deep slash wounds on their faces. Another officer sustained multiple stab wounds, including one cut through his collarbone.

Union officials blamed overcrowding.

The attacks were carried out by a 20-year-old inmate, who was not immediately identified but has been in custody since October 2009, according to a statement released by the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

That inmate is serving a 50-year sentence for a first-degree murder conviction in Los Angeles County. A second inmate, a 36-year-old man who had been behind bars since February 1997, is suspected in the attacks.

Corrections officials said Pelican Bay State Prison would remain locked down until further notice and would issue a notification if visits are cancelled. The prison, which opened in 1989 and houses 3,200 inmates, deals with some of the state's most dangerous inmates. It is located outside Crescent City in Del Norte County.

The attacks at the maximum-security facility were reported about 9:25 a.m. when two inmates rushed the officers with prison-made weapons as they were being released into the exercise yard, authorities said. Fellow prison guards responded immediately, using physical force and batons to subdue the inmates. 

Union officials said the prison was designed to house 2,280 inmates, but because of the state’s inmate overcrowding crisis, the prison houses 3,461 inmates.

“We urge the Governor, the Legislature and the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation to act swiftly to ensure that proper staffing, equipment and adequate prison space are provided to reduce the potential for future attacks on California’s sworn law enforcement officers,” said  Chuck Alexander, executive vice president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn.

The incident is being investigated by the Investigative Services Unit, the Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review and by the Del Norte County district attorney’s office.


Sheriff's deputy shot in face, may lose eye

Ted Williams: Family altercation in Hollywood hotel led to LAPD involvement

CHP says they moved quickly to remove officer suspected of killing from contact with public

--Andrew Blankstein

Comments () | Archives (18)

When an inmate is facing 50yrs, and has apparently nothing to lose. What do you do with, when he does something like this? Can you torture him? What price is he going to pay?

This is related to the Sheriff deputy that was shot in the face in City Terrace earlier today. The Mexican Mafia sent the word out to the street because of prison politics.

How can the La Times accept such a inflammatory comment saying the Mexican Mafia ordered the hit, when this riot was in the morning and the cop shot was today at night... you want to do what Sarah Palin did, and get people killed? Why would inmates attack guards for a nobody shot in the street, you moderators seriously trip me out. Seriously... lack of professionalism.

This is just one of many hundreds staff assaults correctional officers encounter each year and does not make the news. Arnold the ex-governor has been cutting positions and redirecting staff to fill in positions making the prisons unsafe for prison staff and communities surrounding the prisons unsafe. Time for Governor Brown to fully fund those prisons.

John Smith, this has nothing to do with the deputy getting shot clown. This stabbing happened first. How do you know the Mexican Mafia sent out word?? You have no idea...

There should be a sentence called "Banishment" which means no visits, no mail no contact with anyone. Permanent isolation.

"This is just one of many hundreds staff assaults correctional officers encounter each year and does not make the news. Arnold the ex-governor has been cutting positions and redirecting staff to fill in positions making the prisons unsafe for prison staff and communities surrounding the prisons unsafe. Time for Governor Brown to fully fund those prisons. "

Wow, we fully fund the prison's "guards" union every day. We spend 10 billion a year to "guard" non-violent drug abusers and non-violent property crime inmates. All of that waste of tax-payer dollars causes the overcrowding that leads to the few, maximum security prisoners, the violent prisoners, the young, stupid inmates to not only assault the staff but also fellow, non violent inmates. Nope, we don't need more funding for prisons, we need more realistic sentencing laws, in line with smarter states and other 1st world countries that actually realize that education and rehabilitation have a place in society because incarceration doesn't work. Realize that 100,000+ of your friends and neighbors will be incarcerated this year. Even more, realize that 100,000+ will be released back into your community because they have served their term. This is fact, not bleeding heart liberalism.

Isn't Pelican Bay for the criminally insane? These guards put their lives on the line everyday. My hat off to them. God speed their full recovery.

Got to say Montana gold (bandini) takes the cake for hypocritical remarks.
Blames the La Times for accepting such a inflammatory comment and then goes on to say " you want to do what Sarah Palin did, and get people killed? "
What an idiot.

Tim Gallant - Really? Non-violent drug abusers and non-violent property crime inmates? Could you let me know where that prison is? There are exactly zero "non-violent drug abusers and non-violent property crime inmates" at the place I work. Every single guest of the state has violent crimes on his record. Before you buy into the rhetoric, maybe you sh0uld find out what you are talking about. Prison isn't jail. These are not your "friends and neighbors" - unless your friends and neighbors shoot at people from passing cars as a hobby.
We find home-made weapons in cells every day. We deal with violent confrontation every day. Education and rehabilitation IS available - but change comes from within. Most of these guys aren't interested.
My thoughts are with these three fellow correctional officers - and there families.

Awwwwww Poor Prison gaurds. Now you can sit at home and collect disability and that big pension from the states Tax dollars. I don't feel bad for any prison guard at all!!! This is why you get those big pensions.

It is reasonable to expect that caning or some similarly painful experience may be the only way to treat our most violent prisoners. For that matter we should impose this sentence on all non-violent drug offenders & non-violent property crimes offenders. We should put a real price on doing dope and/or taking other peoples stuff.

Jay- you are beyond a doubt the most cruel hearted. I would love to see you in that job surrounded by sadistic, idiotic, criminally insane people everyday. They get the money they do because of the job they have. I don't hear you b!tc#in about CHP and the money they get or the pensions! They make more then CO's by far! So until you are in a prison with your life on the line for eight hours straight, with no break....no lunch....and no guarantee that you won't be attacked, shut your mouth! My heart goes out to these families. I truly hope you have a speedy recovery.

Undoubtedly the guards provoked those men. It isn't logical that prisoners would attack guards for no reason. Since there is no way it can be mistaken as an attempt to escape, and such an outburst would undoubtedly end up unfavorably for them, logic holds that the act was in retaliation. Prisoners are treated worse than ugly dogs. Guards are brutal and demeaning. For a man to be forcibly taken from his home and family and imprisoned, to be perpetually punished and tortured at the whim of any given CDCR staff, and told there is nothing he or anyone else can do about it, has a way of driving them insane. So who's fault is it?

It does'nt surprise me at all. I spent 3 1/2 years there and the place is deplorable.The c/o's Treat everyone like garbage,creating a volatile situation. It's not my wish to see anyone hurt,but to see living conditions improve.It's a terrible place to do time..Its been my experience ,as a witness,that when a situation like this arises,Its usually because of the treatment of inmates by staff.When you prod and poke at a lion,usually that lion will strike back........
So,maybe an outside agency should investigte the prison,talk to some of the inmates,observe,and maybe send in a person who has some authority to make some changes.After that,maybe these kinds of attacks will stop.

I have to agree with the guards on this one. CA prisons are WAY overcrowded. Some at 5 times their original capacity. This is dangerous for EVERYBODY -- prisoners and guards. Start letting the NON-VIOLENT prisoners OUT. They need to be doing community service and/or going to rehab. This would save CA BILLIONS of dollars and make prisons a little bit safer for those who have to remain and serve ridiculously long sentences (thanks to Three Strikes). WAKE UP, SACRAMENTO!

My husband is incarcerated at that facility, I honestly have to say that I am naive to all this prison situations. I didn't think it was this bad, wow was I wrong. I do agree with the Ben comment, usually these situations do happen due to staff treatment. Though I don't know much about the "prison politics" and such but I do believe that people shouldn't be pointing fingers out there. You play with fire, you might just get burnt. You know what I mean? I hope everything works out for the families out there. In conclusion, these are consequences that every officer,guard, etc should well be aware of when applying for that lifestyle.

who cares if the prison guards don't feel safe tell them to find knew jobs wait there the highest paid officers in the state so they have a vested interest to keep the inmate population violent more jails means more guards means more union dues they don't care about keeping people safe its all about money if California stopped paying the prison guards you will see how fast they let the people out of jail


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: