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Merced County to shore up jail dorms after attack

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POSTED November 27, 2012 1:27 a.m.

MERCED (AP) — Steps are being taken to reinforce a dorm cell at a correctional facility in Merced after jail officials say inmates forced open the door to attack members of a rival gang.

Authorities said six inmates at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility armed themselves with mop handles and broom sticks and broke open the door around noon Monday, just as a dozen of inmates from a rival gang were walking back to their dorms after exercising.

Correctional officers responding to the commotion doused the inmates with pepper spray, forcing them to retreat back into their cells.

Authorities said they believe the attack was in retaliation for an incident last week.

Merced County officials say the dorms at facility are not designed to hold violent inmates for the long term, but that budget cuts and prison realignment has forced them to house the inmates.

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