Desegregating California’s Prisons
The Folsom Telegraph reports on efforts beginning this month to desegregate cell blocks at California’s Folsom State Prison, part of a statewide desegregation initiative:
The new policy has been controversial among both inmates and some prison personnel at California’s gang-infested prisons, but advocates hope the state mirrors the progress made in Texas prisons, where a similar policy was implemented in 1991.
An inmate’s lawsuit proved the impetus for creation of the policy, said CDCR spokeswoman Terry Thornton.
The inmate claimed his civil rights were violated at a state-run reception center, a designation afforded to 11 out of 33 state prisons that process new inmates coming from county detention.
“We never had a policy on segregating inmates,” Thornton emphasized. But she acknowledged that, “as a mechanism to keep people from killing each other, sometimes those decisions were made” to house inmates of the same race in a cell.
A series of appellate decisions, culminating in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2005, resulted in mediation that laid the groundwork for the department confronting its unwritten segregation policy.