A disconcerting trend predicted on the San Francisco Bay View: The depopulation of prisons may be accompanied by an increase in the use of solitary confinement. The mostly-unreported hunger strike of September and October was in manifestation of inmate concerns with the change in security groups. Here's more information, as per letters from Todd Ashker, the strike organizer:
Written Jan. 22, postmarked Jan. 27, 2012 – As soon as I first heard during our face to face meeting with former Undersecretary Kernan of CDCR’s plans to go to a “security threat group” (STG) system of classification, I recognized the very real potential for manipulation and abuse of such by certain factions in power positions in CDCR – e.g. CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association), gang unit etc. I immediately detailed my concerns to our attorneys – this was part of the reason for hunger strike no. 2 in September and October.
Briefly, here’s what I’m concerned about: Right at the time – in May – when the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s prison population reduction order, in seeming response to our July hunger strike, CDCR unveils their STG plan. Here’s how it looks to me: The prison population reduction of 35,000-40,000 prisoners equals a potential loss of $2 billion in the yearly CDCR budget and the loss of approximately 7,000 CCPOA members. That’s the loss of a lot of union dues!
A clever way to offset some of this loss is to create a “new” security threat designation scheme – used in a lot of states, including Arizona, where it’s used to isolate all inmates labeled southern Hispanic from California – enabling CDCR to segregate a lot more men. Segregation costs nearly double general population and requires more staff.
Does any of our readers have more information about this?