Mayhem in the Cellblocks

Gangs terrorize Folsom and other overcrowded prisons

Immortalized on jukeboxes in a thousand honky-tonks, California's Folsom Prison is one of the U.S.'s best-known penitentiaries, and one of its worst. Hewn from local granite at the base of the Sierra foothills northeast of Sacramento, Folsom dates back to the 1880s and for decades has been a squalid, antiquated mess. But its problems have become acute in the past ten years, as its population has swelled to 70% more than capacity and the rate of violent acts nearly tripled. This year three inmates have been killed and 130 others stabbed in unmanageable violence that has locked the prison into what...

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