Violence in California state prisons will increase after politics


An April 11 memo sent to families of incarcerated people by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said rival groups will integrate.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After California prison officials reported the murder of a third inmate at one of its jails in a week, incarcerated advocates said the violence behind bars will only get worse. .

They are speaking out because of a housing policy change that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) outlined in an April 11 memo sent to inmates.

“In the past, CDCR faced violence in prisons, and there was concern about clustering some security threat groups (STGs) in general population (GP) environments. As a result, CDCR housed some rival STGs that separated the each other” read the note. “However, this current policy does not align with CDCR’s current mission.”

With rival prison groups and gangs no longer housed separately solely based on their affiliation, Renee Aragon, founder of We are their voicessaid the safety of all incarcerated is further threatened, even those unaffiliated with any group.

“It’s a guarantee that they won’t go home, because (CDCR) knows that they have created a hostile and brutal environment with violence,” she told ABC10. “They know what’s going to happen because they created the environment.”

Aragon led a protest outside the Sacramento County Jail on July 11 with members of his policy change advocacy group. The California-based group of just over 3,000 members is a hub for providing support and resources to loved ones of those incarcerated.

Aragon said she and other defenders will not stop protesting until the policy is reversed and the integration of rival groups is reversed.

To read the full memo, see the PDF below.

CDCR Inmate Integration Policy

Most prisons do not house rival factions of the Security Threat Group together, Connie Gipson, director of CDCR’s adult facilities division, said in a note to prisoners, but the few prisons that have succeeded.

One of the reasons Gipson cited for the policy change was to expand opportunities for all general population inmates to participate in rehabilitation programs.

Rather than membership in a group or gang being a decisive factor in the allocation of housing to an incarcerated person, only his demonstrated willingness to participate in programs will determine his housing.

“These individuals don’t get along, they’re going to fight (and) they’re going to be denied parole. And then the worst case scenario is that they won’t go home at all,” Aragon said.

The CDCR oversees 34 adult prisons with a population of around 97,000, although Governor Gavin Newsom could close three of these prisons by 2025 to save money and cope with the decrease in the number of inmates.

However, Aragon said that if inmates get longer sentences and are denied parole for perceived violations behind bars, it could slow down the process of closing state prisons and reduce their funding.

Fellow lawyer Juanita Roina said families are not immediately notified when loved ones are injured or end up in hospital.

Another note from Gipson dated April 11 said the integration of rival groups will be slow and methodical, and those caught participating in the violence will be removed from the general population.

Inmates who cooperate with integration may be eligible to be housed in a lower security prison – those unwilling to comply may be housed in a higher security prison.

“This is consistent with CDCR’s shift from a membership-based system to a behavior-based system, providing all incarcerated individuals with the opportunity to take advantage of every rehab program and enabling them to engage in prosocial behavior. within CDCR and in the community when they are released,” CDCR spokeswoman Dana Simas told ABC10.

However, Aragon and Roina fear that their loved ones will miss their release date if they are forced to house with rival inmates.

“You don’t have to put rival gangs or people who don’t need to be together to give them programs so they can improve,” Aragon said. “They want to come home, and you’re going to put them in a situation where they have no choice.”

For the CDCR’s full statement, see below.

CDCR is responsible for providing a safe and secure environment for all who live, work and visit its institutions. The rehabilitation of people entrusted to the care of the department is also a priority. To this end, CDCR will house members of Security Threat Groups (STGs) in the same manner as everyone else – based on their individual case factors – and end the practice of grouping some incarcerated individuals into based on their affiliation or membership in an STG, or based on where they lived prior to incarceration. This is consistent with CDCR’s shift from a membership-based system to a behavior-based system, providing all inmates with the opportunity to take advantage of every rehab program and allowing them to engage in prosocial behavior at the within the CDCR and in the community when they are released.

A person’s behavior should and will determine where they are housed.

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