Corcoran State Prison in California has locked 1,300 black inmates in their cells with limited privileges during an investigation into whether incarcerated members of the Crips street gang are conspiring to attack staffers in retaliation for the anticipated execution of the gang’s co-founder, the Los Angeles Times says. Stanley “Tookie” Williams, 49, has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison since 1981, two years after his conviction in the 1979 murders of four people during robberies at a convenience store and a motel in Los Angeles.
Correctional officers at Corcoran recently discovered a “kite,” or written message, directing Crips to attack and kill high-ranking prison staff members. Corcoran officials say the anonymous kite may have been sent on behalf of Williams, whose court appeals are winding down.
About 3,800 inmates of all races at two other prisons – Pelican Bay in far northern California and Salinas Valley in Soledad – also are on lockdown status because of recent assaults on staff members by black inmates. Locking down inmates by race is a common practice within the prison system, where competing ethnic or gang affiliations can lead to violence.