The solitary struggle in California prisons
Until recent protests, California locked ‘validated’ gang members in concrete boxes for years on end. So what’s changed?
theguardian.com, Thursday 10 May 2012 18.48 BST
A solitary confinement prison cell
CDCR has contested the description of the SHUs’ 8x10ft cell as ‘solitary confinement’. Photograph: Creative Commons
For the past three decades or so, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has attempted to suppress gang violence in its prisons by segregating anyone thought be have gang affiliations in their notorious secure housing units (SHUs) – and leaving them there for years or even decades. Last summer, two state-wide hunger strikes protesting SHU conditions shed an uncomfortable spotlight on these policies and the CDCR was obliged to rethink its approach.
Recently, it issued an outline of its revised strategy (pdf), including details of the much-anticipated step-down program. While the new…
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