Gang Classification by Race is Ok in Prison

25 Jan

It was not long ago that California decided that inmates could not be segregated solely by race. Prison officials were ordered to end their use of an “unwritten policy” which had been in effect for at least a quarter of a century, and advised prison officials to separate incoming inmates by their race. 

It used to be that inmates of the same race were housed together for 60 days, a measure taken in part to reduce the risk of racial violence.  Once processed, inmates were assigned to a cell in one of the state’s 33 prisons on a largely nonracial basis. They were segregated again by race whenever they were transferred.

The policy now is that an offender’s race will not be used as a sole determining factor in housing.  However, this policy still needed to take into account the institution’s safety and security.  This policy was to be utilized in full force and effect starting in 2007.  

Recently, the court determined that there is no violation of the previous discussion when prison officials utilizes race as a sole factor for housing and segregating prison inmates affiliated with a gang.  So long as the prison official’s segregation is based on a means of addressing prison’s compelling interest in preventing gang violence race is allowed as the segregation factor. 

     In re Morales – filed January 23, 2013, First District, Div. Three

     Cite as A132816


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