California officials have agreed to end a policy of segregating prison inmates after riots based on their race as a way to prevent further violence, the Associated Press reports. Officers have frequently locked inmates in their cells based on which races were involved in the riot, even if individual inmates of that race were not directly implicated.
The agreement is spelled out in a 21-page settlement involving a lawsuit filed in 2008. The agreement says future lockdowns may not be imposed or lifted based on race or ethnicity. Instead, officers can lock down every inmate in an affected area, or individual inmates suspected of being involved in the incident or the gangs that were involved. The state also agreed to provide inmates with opportunities for outdoor exercise any time a lockdown lasts longer than 14 days. “We see this as a tremendous result,” said Rebekah Evenson of the nonprofit Berkeley-based Prison Law Office.