June 21, 1997 in Nation/World

Watchdog Group Criticizes U.S. Prisons For Violence

Associated Press

An international watchdog group has condemned the United States for violence in its prisons and faulted authorities for overcrowding in jails around the world.

The International Prison Observatory said in a report issued Thursday that a state prison in Corcoran, Calif., organized “gladiator battles” between opposing gangs. It also reported simulated executions at a jail in Sacramento, Calif., last June.

There was no immediate comment from California authorities.

The report also detailed high incarceration rates around the world. Rwanda had the highest rate with 1,100 people jailed per 100,000 inhabitants.

Russia had 700 prisoners per 100,000 people and the United States had 602, the Lyon-based group said.

In Europe, the rate is 70-120 people per 100,000; in Canada it is 114.

The worst prison conditions were reported in Africa; a prison in Butare, Rwanda, built for 1,200 people held 17,537.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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