California has consented this week to stop race-based punishment. Prison officials in California used race as the criteria for their lockdown decisions to control prison violence. It was evident that the race-based punishment was designed to control prison’s gangs. Most prison gangs are based on race. By using this tactic, if an inmate was not a gang member or even if the inmate’s gang was not involved, all members of the same race suffered the same harsh retribution. There were as many as 160 race-based lockdowns lasting six weeks or longer in any given year in California.
Here is an example of one “race-based” lockdown:
In 2006, two guards were attacked by inmates at California’s High Desert State Prison. The warden ordered a full lockdown which restricted all African Americans in one wing of the prison to their cells for 14 months. For 14 months, there was no outdoor exercise, no education and/or rehabilitation programs, or prison jobs.