Gang Fights Behind Bars - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gang Fights Behind Bars

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - Gang fights are a problem that officers deal with on the streets, but there is often trouble behind bars as well.

Since January 2011, there have been 175 fights in the Benton County Jail and officers said half of them are gang related.

Officers said they work to classify inmates as they come into the jail and if they know of gang affiliation, they will keep them separated from rival gangs.

They also use sanctions to punish any violence like moving inmates to smaller cells or denying snacks.

Those involved often face additional assault charges.

"We look for scars, marks and tattoos and we talk to them..a lot of times, they'll let us know who they're affiliated with. But we also have records on them made by patrol officers on the street on who they are," said the Benton County Sheriff Steve Keane.

On Tuesday, the state penitentiary in Walla Walla was put on lock down after a fight between gang members broke out and left three guards injured.