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California prison on lockdown after weekend riot

The Associated Press

CHINO, California -- A men's state prison was on lockdown after a racially charged riot involving hundreds of inmates left dozens injured over the weekend, authorities said.

The riot erupted Saturday morning at California Institution for Men in Chino following a fight between a Hispanic inmate and a black inmate in a recreation yard, said prison spokesman Lt. Mark Hargrove.

Anywhere from 200 to 800 other inmates watching from surrounding dormitories followed suit and clashed along racial lines, he said.

More than 50 inmates were treated at the prison or local hospitals for serious to minor injuries in the 90 minute brawl, officials said. The prison would be on lockdown until at least Tuesday.

Authorities were trying to determine Monday what sparked the initial fight and why other inmates joined in.

The nearby women's prison also was under lockdown so guards could respond faster to the men's prison in case authorities there needed assistance, officials said.

There has been periodic violence in California's overcrowded prison system, often involving Hispanic and black inmates. At Chino, 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of downtown Los Angeles, two inmates were stabbed and wounded in June during brawls involving about 60 inmates.

Another fight involving about 200 prisoners injured eight in September 2005.

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