A California policy that temporarily separates inmates by race has come under renewed attack this week in a complaint filed by an official of the influential prison-guard union, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The union official contends that he has observed inmates at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville segregated “beyond 60 days for indefinite periods of time.” California places inmates in cells with prisoners of the same ethnic background for the first 60 days after their arrival in prison. The policy is being case that was argued last month before the U.S. Supreme Court.
David Robinson, president of the medical facility’s chapter of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, said arguments made before the Supreme Court contained “bold face lies.” In the high court case, the state argued that the segregation is not based just on race but also on geography and gang affiliation. Said a corrections spokesperson: “We have to do it very quickly when people arrive at reception centers. When you ask 99 of 100 inmates if they want to be housed with someone of another race or area — they’ll say ‘no.’ ”