An agreement reached this week in California will see that prison officials are no longer allowed to segregate inmates by race in the event of lockdowns at facilities across the state.
The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday published a stipulated settlement reached between the state’s prison system and a group of inmates that should once and for all resolve a long-standing class action suit filed High Desert State Prison inmate Robert Mitchell in 2008.
According to the Times, Mitchell claimed in a 2008 filing that it was the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s policy that “when there is an incident involving any race, all inmates of that race are locked up.” The instance that spawned the suit, an inmate-on-guard attack in 2006 at High Desert, left all black detainees confined to an African American-only wing of the facility for 14 months, solely because of race, which prison officials argued was necessary to control violent prison gangs that are often ethnicity-exclusive. Once the agreement posted by the paper this week becomes official, then that will change.
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