View Full Version : Article : No segregation could hit Chino prison hard


California Sunshine
02-27-2005, 11:41 PM
By Mason Stockstill, Staff Writer

CHINO - A recent Supreme Court decision could radically alter the way inmates are processed at the California Institution for Men.
The court last week struck down a ruling allowing state prisons to separate incoming prisoners by race, saying the long-standing but unofficial practice was equivalent to discrimination.

CIM's main role is as a "reception center' where thousands of prisoners are sent for review before they are placed in other facilities to serve out the bulk of their sentences. Most of the inmates in Chino are given cell assignments with other prisoners of the same race.

Changing the practice could further complicate the process of determining how best to arrange incoming prisoners at CIM, said prison Sgt. Ari Sams.

"I think an inmate that wants to specifically be housed with his race would refuse to go into a cell with someone that is not his race,' Sams said. "Ultimately, we've got to house those inmates somewhere.'

Race is not the only factor used to determine how inmates are housed. Other issues such as gang affiliation or previous run-ins with inmates at the prison are taken into account.

State officials had maintained that segregating inmates by race is necessary to limit violence because prison gangs like the Mexican Mafia, Black Guerrilla Family and Aryan Brotherhood are formed along racial lines.

After they are evaluated and moved out of the prisons' reception centers, inmates can, at their own choosing, be placed in a cell with members of another race. When prisoners first enter the system, however, officials don't know enough about them to make an informed decision about how they should be housed, state attorneys argued.

"Based on their day-to-day experience, prison officials know that the race of a cellmate can be the source of tension and possible violence,' wrote attorneys for the state in their brief to the Supreme Court.

The problem is acute at CIM's reception centers. In December, a riot involving black and Latino inmates was followed by a racially motivated stabbing of a prisoner, then by the killing of a guard.

Authorities believe Officer Manuel Gonzalez was killed by a black inmate who had been let out of his cell to talk with other black inmates in an attempt to relieve racial tensions.

"Some people resist' joining race-based gangs, said Margot Bach, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. "But on the whole, most inmates align with somebody, and they get their protection that way.'

The Supreme Court sided with a prisoner who had sued the state, saying the practice violated the 14th Amendment. But it is still possible that the segregation policy could remain if the state can prove to a lower court that it is necessary and that it works a difficult legal burden to meet.

Even if the policy is struck down, it's unlikely anything would change at CIM or any other state prison for years to come, Bach said. When a similar ruling affected prisons in Texas, it took 10 years for a new system to be fully implemented.

"Any time you have a department the size of the Department of Corrections, it's going to take some time to implement changes across the board,' Bach said.

SGT Anonymous
02-28-2005, 03:21 AM
If strictly enforced this will hit ALL prisons hard.

Barbara
02-28-2005, 11:16 AM
It will also cut the CO's staff in half if each prisoner kills his cellie, there would only be 1/2 as many prisoners hence 1/2 as many CO's needed. Has no one heard the term You Canít Dictate Morality?