Law enforcement expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:
For some time now, the news media has inundated the public with stories of prison under funding, poor prison health care, and the possibility of California releasing thousands of prison inmates to ease overcrowding. Additionally, two major prison riots were reported. One riot was in California and one in Kentucky. Numerous prisoners were injured and millions of dollars in damage was done during both riots. The news reported that prison overcrowding was to blame in each case.
During my 30 years in law enforcement I have led emergency response teams to quell over 100 large inmate disturbances (what many would call riots) in several very large, violent jails. I have taught other supervisors and line personnel how to handle such riots, and I have lectured on this topic in other states. And even though I have retired, I am still involved with jail and prison issues by working with the Dr. Prison (www.drprison.org) organization. Dr. Prison counsels individuals who are going to be incarcerated for the first time how to survive by learning the rules of jail or prison.
For once I would like to see the media report the full story about why jail and prison riots occur. To be fair, I do not know the specific cause of these two particular riots; however, based on my experience I can tell you what may have really happened and why.