Complaint says California prisons resort to excessive, race-based lockdowns

Julie Small | KPCC

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A California Department of Corrections officer at Chino State Prison waits for a prison door to be opened on December 10, 2010 in Chino, California.

Attorneys for prison inmates sued California Wednesday in federal court to end race-based lockdowns in state penitentiaries. Prisons lock down inmates after riots to quell the violence, investigate the cause – and isolate the inmates involved. The law gives prison officials a lot of discretion to use lockdowns – but there are limits. KPCC’s Julie Small reports the class action lawsuit alleges that race-based lockdowns violate inmate rights.

California’s High Desert State Prison in north eastern Lassen County, is a maximum security facility. Following a violent incident there in the warden locked down a group of African-American inmates for 18 months. One of them, Robert Mitchell, stayed in the double-bunked cell he shared with another inmate–24 hours a day – seven days a week. Prison Law Office attorney Rebekah Evenson who is representing Mitchell says the type of discriminatory deprivation the inmate suffered is common in California prisons—and illegal.

Read More @ KPCC/


One thought on “Complaint says California prisons resort to excessive, race-based lockdowns

  1. As the wife of an inmate currently at a level IV CSP, I can easily say that everything behind the wall is race based. Race based lock downs are better than locking down the entire facility for an issue between two races, or risking an all out riot — a very real possibility of a mis-identified “non participant” in any given incident.

    Lock downs always hurt and the issue of unnecessarily long lock downs is legitimate, but I’d rather my husband be on lock down than risk him getting stabbed out of opportunity or misidentification.


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