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‘Mass Casualty’ Riot in California’s Prison; 276 Inmates Hospitalized 8 Officers | Hector Bravo

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The California prison system is facing a dangerous crisis according to Hector Bravo, a former Correctional Lieutenant with 16 years of experience at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). In a recent interview, Bravo shared alarming details about understaffing, violence, and misguided reforms that are compromising the safety of both inmates and officers.
Bravo described a “mass casualty” prison riot at Ironwood State Prison sparked by contraband discovery during a routine cell search. With only 8 officers supervising 800 inmates in the yard, the imbalance of power erupted into a massive assault involving over 276 inmates beating and throwing rocks at outnumbered staff. Nearby facilities designed to provide backup were empty, leaving officers to fend for themselves against the mob.
Beyond this incident, Bravo cited chronic understaffing across California prisons that has made maintaining control and security virtually impossible. With ambitious rehabilitation programs taking priority over safety, administrators in Sacramento seem disconnected from the dangerous realities on the ground. Bravo contends this misguided “California model” has sacrificed safety to emulate the permissive system in Norway, which is ill-suited for California’s violent prison politics and gang dynamics.
As a frontline veteran, Bravo’s first-hand account sheds light on the human costs of reforms gone wrong. For the well-being of both inmates and officers, California must re-center its priorities on security before pursuing lofty goals that put lives at risk. The voices of experienced corrections professionals deserve to be heard in shaping realistic solutions to the prison system’s crisis.
*Views expressed in this video/article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of California Insider.
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