SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A stabbing attack this week on four guards at one overcrowded state prison and a racially sparked brawl at another mark the type of violence that guards, inmates' attorneys and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have been worried about for years.
The violence comes at a critical juncture for the nation's largest state prison system.
Later this year, a panel of federal judges will consider whether the crowding has become so severe that the state must cap the inmate population or release some prisoners early.
At the same time, lawmakers are considering a Schwarzenegger proposal to save money for the deficit-ridden state by releasing more than 20,000 inmates before their sentences end.
"For the last two years, we've said something worse than this was inevitable," said Chuck Alexander, executive vice president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, referring to this week's prison unrest. "It's just a matter of where and when it's going to hit. In our view, it's a precursor of what's to come."The Rocky Mountain News