Group Sues Calif. Over Race-Based Prison Lockdowns

San Francisco Chronicle, April 27, 2011

California’s use of race as a basis for locking prisoners in their cells after fights amounts to illegal discrimination and should be banned, attorneys representing inmates said in a class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The policy unfairly punishes innocent inmates simply because they have the same color skin as those involved in the violence, the nonprofit Prison Law Office said in its suit, filed in federal court in Sacramento.

{snip}

However, a proposed revision to the department’s lockdown policy says inmates often organize themselves based on race or geographical area. The policy acknowledges that some uninvolved inmates may be affected, but it is the department’s goal to get them back to a normal routine as soon as possible.

Rebekah Evenson, an attorney with the Berkeley-based Prison Law Office, said the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a similar argument in 2005 when it told the state to end its policy of housing inmates based on their race. The high court and other states have found that such race-based policies encourage violence by splitting inmates along racial lines, Evenson said.

There were about 350 complete or partial race-based lockdowns annually in the California’s 30 male prisons in recent years, according to the lawsuit.

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Anonymous

    “The policy unfairly punishes innocent inmates simply because they have the same color skin as those involved in the violence”

    One of the hallmarks of the Left is that they look at a system, then find an exception to that system, then redesign the entire system around the exception.

    This, and socialized healthcare, are living examples of that kind of backward thinking.

  • Anonymous

    I agree completely with the nonprofit Prison Law Office. Diversity IS our greatest strength, and the different races can benefit greatly from living closely together and experiencing the vibrancy and unique outlooks that each race brings to the table. All Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Russian Mafia, Asian gang-bangers, Armenian gangsters, etc. should be housed together in large open dormitories, where can really get to know one another on a close personal level and participate in colorful and vibrant cultural exchanges.

  • Jeddermann.

    CA is head and shoulders above the rest of the nation in this regard? You lock two inmates of a different race in the same cell and they automatically fight and try to kill one another. Has been that way for some time. Lock a Japanese and a Korean in the same cell and they too automatically try to kill one another.

    This stuff has been going on for some time and the only response is to try some sort of encounter session, etc.

    Do good liberal lawyers have it all figured out. Lock them in a cell with someone of another race for just one day and see what happens.

  • ghw

    Obviously these race-obsessed fanatics are more concerned about “racism” than they are about the safety of the innocent prisoners.

    Maybe you’ll get killed, but at least they’ll spare you from the horrors of being segregated.

  • Carl

    “punishes innocent inmates”?! What are innocent people doing in prison? I thought prison was for criminals. Isn’t prison supposed to be for punishing criminals? And it sounds like the only “punishment” involved is locking people up, which is a pretty reasonable punishment for every criminal in Jail.

  • Anonymous

    I honestly do not believe that the prison system does anyone any good except for perhaps the top execs at-

    >

    Companies operating in the private prison business include the Corrections Corporation of America, the GEO Group, Inc, and Community Education Centers. The GEO Group was formerly known as Wackenhut Securities, and includes the Cornell Companies, which merged with GEO in 2010.

    Private companies which provide services to prisons combine in the American Correctional Association, which advocates legislation favorable to the industry. Such private companies comprise what has been termed the Prison-industrial complex.

    >

    http://goo.gl/HIdy5

    You make better (trained) criminals and you create atmospheres of mutual hatred for ‘the enemy’ that is an oppressor control group, right or wrong. That’s just the instinctive psychological reaction of a caged animal rage.

    It would be better for all if we learned not to depend on cops to save us in an encounter and used a just, representative, process for all types of crime. Two years, anything less than 10,000 dollars and no bodily harm. Four years, anything less than 20,000 dollars and no lasting harm. Six years, anything less than 100,00 dollars and no rape, mutilation or premeditated murder. Eight years, everyone else except the psychopathically inclined serial killers, gang rapists and 100 million dollar corporate fraud artists.

    The difference being that I honestly think the only way to convince people to behave is to have an example to point to that says: “SEE! Three tries. He is a pathological recidivist and every time he goes in, you pay 40K, per year!”

    As an excuse for a bullet or a needle.

    Crime rates would plummet, overnight. Because those who got out to do it again would, within a decade, be making thousand-per-anum examples of the costs of losing.

    Why do I think this is important?

    >

    Incarceration in the United States is one of the main forms of punishment for the commission of felony and other offenses. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. At yearend 2009 it was 743 incarcerated per 100,000 population.[2][3][4][5][6]

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 7,225,800 people at yearend 2009 were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole — about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population.[7][4] 2,292,133 were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails at yearend 2009.

    >

    http://goo.gl/HIdy5

    2.29 million X 40 grande a year = $91,685,320,000.

    That’s billions with a _B_.

    And everyone wins. Prisoners are happy with reduced sentences. Prosecutors are happy with more allocutions as opposed to criminal trials (Help us out and we’ll give you the bottom half of the sentence…). And taxpayers can buy a Glock instead of forking over their chunk of change to keep people locked away, _doing nothing_.

    I’d add one other thing: Give them a chance to work it off. One half year off for one year spent picking fruit or doing road work or building habitats for humanity.

  • SKIP

    A movie with Ray Liotta in it called, I think, “No Escape” should work for the prisons of caliFOREIGNER, put them all in one place and let them work out their own hierarchy.

  • Istvan

    To crazy liberals: The only right a prisoner has is to be treated humanely.

    To crazy onservatives: Imprisonment in a civilized country is the loss of freedom, not the loss of life at the hands of another prisoner.

    Oh, and by the way, innocent people are occasionaly imprisoned before their innocence is discovered.

  • What?

    I think I know what the people of the Prison Law Office have been smoking. If anybody in the Judiciary takes this lawsuit seriously, they’re smoking the same thing.

  • AWG (Average White Guy)

    If denying reality is the definition of crazy, these lawyers are absolute loons.

    The racial distinction was affirmed by the violence. The prison managers are not making distinctions, they are simply acknowledging it.

    Keep this in mind: When the media reports violence between blacks and Whites it should be understood by the reader to mean “violence against Whites by blacks.”

    Episodes of racial violence involving blacks and Whites in prison are almost alway blacks assaulting Whites en masse. By forcing racial integration, the courts will assure that black on White violence will continue. In other words, a court dicision favorable to the plantiffs will mandate black assaults on White prisoners.

  • john

    I thought Jedderman’s comment had merit. To carry it a step further, white defense attorneys, social workers, and prison rights advocates should volunteer to spend the occasional night with a violent black offender. Hopefully, this sort of cultural sharing would reduce their aggressive tendencies through education and peaceful persuasion.

    After all, we’re all one worlders now.

  • Ted Sarcastic

    Call me crazy if you wish but I have a good feeling about this.

    Now inmates will be given the opportunity to mix and talk out their differences? Once the white man accepts his role in holding our Great black population down things will start to get better.

    Once the white man realizes the Great Intelligence of his black cellmate the white man will have a golden opportunity to start to think and act like the typical black population?

    The other possibility is once this mixing really takes place the population of the prisons will be reduced on a daily basis?

  • Michael C. Scott

    The policy does not “split inmates along racial lines”; they already are that way. Most violent inmates in the California state prison system are – or were – gang members. Criminal gangs are very nearly always split along racial lines, so when these guys get locked up, they remain split along racial lines and since they’re generally in for violence, they remain violent and the violence expresses itself along racial lines.

    The real drawback for us members of the tax-paying public will be (1) Increased costs, due to the need to treat the extra injuries that will result. (2) Increased costs due to the litigation that will result from inmates being victimized for being the wrong race. (3) Increased recidivism on the outside due to the fact that providing these inmates access to each other will only reinforce their existing psychopathic tendencies, and which will result in (you guessed it) increased costs for law-enforcement, property theft, property damage and personal injuries to the additional crime victims.