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California halts prison gang peacemaking effort

Posted at 3:03 PM, Sep 24, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California prison officials have halted an experiment aimed at trying to force warring prison gangs to get along.

Officials tell The Associated Press the temporary halt came after the inmates wound up brawling and even rioting when they were allowed to mingle together in prison recreation yards.

The effort started more than a year ago with officials allowing prisoners from the different gangs into exercise yards to try to get them to interact and make peace.

It was also an attempt by officials to reduce harsh restrictions that kept gang members locked up in cells for lengthy periods without access to rehabilitation programs.

But gang members at several state prisons brawled in what critics labeled "gladiator fights" that they allege prison officials deliberately set up.

Prison officials deny those allegations.