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California

CA: The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation wants to rid some facilities of sensitive needs yards

[sacbee.com – 5/27/18]

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is changing how inmates are housed, saying current separations between general population inmates and those held in sensitive needs yards have been ineffective in eliminating gangs and violence within prison walls.

The agency will instead move toward creating some “non-designated program” facilities, where both groups will be tasked with co-existing. The current system has bred new gangs within the sensitive needs yards, resulting in escalating violence, CDCR Undersecretary of Operations Ralph Diaz said.

“We are going to do behavior-based programs and holding people based on their own behavior,” Diaz said. “These are the individuals that will eventually be returning home,” he added.

The transition may not be smooth, however, says Joshua Mason, a south Sacramento resident, gang expert and former inmate within the state’s prison system.

Inmates sent to the sensitive needs yards are historically inmates who face threats from the general population for factors like helping prison administration as informants, leaving a gang or being convicted with an unfavorable crime, like child molestation.

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  1. Eric

    Well, another experiment. Unfortunately it won’t help Jody. When I was incarcerated I met Jody. He had the same offense as I had, simple CP possession. Jody was beat to death while I was there because he had a sex offense, and he was white, and he was old, and he was outspoken. A very bad combination. Oh, well, maybe they will get it right next time, but I doubt it.

  2. mike r

    This is obviously absolutely insane. Lots of people are going to die just because the prison officials cannot control their own prisons. This is a pathetic excuse for not doing their frigging jobs. More accountability and just give out paychecks for the sake of propriety. When I was in SNY at Chuckawalla we were the first SNY’s on the yards there when they were converting them into SNY. I was there for 2 1/2 years and I tell you what by the time that I was leaving they were just forming what they called the 25 gang. CO’s were not doing anything about it and they just let everyone tattoo up which is like a badge of honor to most of these guys and solidifies and legitimizes their gang status. I guarantee they put SNY into GP there is going to be some killing. GP’s get ranking in their respective gangs by killing SNY’s, bottom line. Our country is still so barbaric that our prison systems are not prisons anymore, they are gladiator schools and training camps and torture camps for those whom really want to rehabilitate. Now because they cannot control their own prisons they are converting them into killing camps and even more extreme torture. Hey I have an idea, how about breaking up the gangs by not allowing more than two too three people being able to hangout together and stop the damn tattooing which is why a lot of these idiots go to prison just to get. The tattooing, although not talked about much, is a major issue and if these fools cannot get their little tears on their eyes of badges of violence then maybe, just maybe, you might be able to get some kind of control of your own prisons. Man this is so pathetic on so many levels. What kind of signal is this going to send to the gangs???? I will tell you, it is game on and there is nothing the state officials can do about it. That is exactly what they are stating….

  3. mike r

    Yeah they were starting to check paperwork right before I was leaving and you know wjat, I told the two guys that asked me to go to hell and ask me again and it is going to be a problem. Never heard another word about it but guess what, the defenseless old man that was in our pod they were breaking hos locker open and paperchecking him because they knew he couldn’t fight back. Well they found that he was in for failing to register and even then the puss**&^% were to afraid to do anything or say anything about it to the guy, which I would have jumped in which might have been a factor, but they talked all kinds of crap behind his back. And these were supposedly big bad tattooed up GP dropouts. Ha what a joke. I tell you though I am glad i got out when I did because it was turning into just another yard, just like the prison officials state, and the guards were doing nothing about it. There were even people throwing them kites and straight telling them what was happening and who was doing but they refused to do their jobs. They straight admit that the gangs run the prisons without any consequences for their lack of actions. Another big PATHETIC.

  4. The Static-99R Is A Scam

    I spent several weeks in General Population before they transferred me to Sensitive Needs Yard. Because I was required to register under 290.006, and the controlling offense was not a specific sex offense under 290, CDCR claimed to not know that I was labeled a “sex offender” by the Court. It was my first-time offense — and my only offense ever — so I was obviously frightened at the culture shock and institutional racism that the guards — who are actual law enforcement officers — upheld on a daily basis. It was a shock that our government still, today, upholds racial segregation in our prisons. Though I am not old enough to live through the 1950s, it was as if General Population operated under segregation laws of the 1950s and prior.

    Sensitive Needs Yard was mostly without the racial segregation. But prison was still very much hell. One of the many, many lessons I learned through the criminal “justice” ordeal: Never trust the government and/or anyone employed by the government (contractor or otherwise).

  5. Gwen

    Does anyone have any advice for family members of a loved one that is incarcerated with a sex crime and then is placed in general population where they are injured or killed? My gut feeling is that our prison systems will try to cover themselves from any liability. Thoughts?

    • Eric

      When my friend was murdered the FBI came in and did a full investigation and actually did arrest the individuals and convicted them of the crime, so they will be doing additional time. Thank goodness the FBI came in, because prison is a closed system, and I wouldn’t expect anything to get done by the prison staff. Often your senator will help move things along if it is a serious situation, or in Federal prison the regent office in DC.

    • Greg

      Tell your loved one if he does not know how to fight already to learn. Work-out constantly, sleep with one eye open, and with his boots on. I’m glad I’m no longer in his shoes. I know if I was to go back then I would be killed. I’m a beast too, not some computer warrior. It’s reality. There are too many of them and the way they think cannot and will not be changed. Tell your loved one you love him because it may be the last time. I’m sorry, it’s bleak, but with CDCR doing this it’s definitely a reality. In the mean time write your congressman. Best of luck Gwen

  6. totally against public registry

    How horrifying is this for all who have loved ones in SNY. All I can say is, that our state is very barbaric and our laws archaic. I feel like TIME is going backwards instead of forwards on this planet. If I didn’t love my children so much I almost regret having brought up children in this world. Very disappointed in HUMAN RACE!

  7. Harry

    A better solution, since CA has several prison sites, make exclusive prisons ak: a prison for SO only, a prison gang members only, and others for DUI, Drug offensives and etc. only.

    • Eric

      That sounds good, but you are missing the entire political agenda. In federal lows it is all GP. And they evenly disperse SO’s in the housing units and the multi-person rooms and we all understood it was to help dilute the violent and problematic population. We all know that SO’s for the most part aren’t of the traditional criminal mind set. Most of us made bad choices surrounding our sexual drive, but otherwise were law abiding, skilled, working class people with value systems. So sprinkle a few hundred of them in general population and the housing units and it really helps quite things down; however, it is living hell for those like me that were the subject of this experiment for 5 years and 28 days. This is absolutely understood by the justice system and it is a deliberate act of sacrificing and exploiting the good and passive nature of SO’s in the federal prison system.

  8. Jack

    Well, I wouldn’t know but I heard the sex offenders at San Quentin were basically just left in their cells 24/7. So sure, being let out to just be with the rest of them is going to be a mad max situation, but that might be preferable to where we were.

  9. dph

    You got that right Gwen, thanks for your upfront and painful honesty and for Static99-R is a scam’s words too,.

  10. C

    Wow, this sounds like a completely different system than when I pulled 8 years in GP at San Quentin and Soledad. At that time they had just regained control of the prisons, the gang bangers were in SHU, the hole and being sent off to new places like Pelican Bay. Apart from county jail and reception at Chino, I never had a problem, but there were people that did. Water seeking its own level, those who wanted the prison gang lifestyle got it, those that wanted to make the most of their time productively and program (e.g. yours truly), did so.
    This new level of violence and the corruption in the CDCR reminds me of the horrors coming out of Brazilian prisons. When I was in, the CCPOA had become the most powerful union in the state and the largest single contributor to the governor’s war chest starting, I believe, with Pete Wilson. What a shame. Yesterday I was so proud touring the USS Iowa on Memorial Day. What a sad reminder, today, of the s-hole this country, especially this state, has become.

    My heart goes out to anyone caught up in this nightmarish system.

  11. Double A

    I was fortunate to have only spent a year behind bars. AB 109 cut my sentence in half. I did two months in county, three months at Wasco, and seven months at McFarland.

    I had minimal contact with prison gangs. In county I heard about the Gay Boy Gangsters. I never came a cross one, but I knew they existed. At Wasco, we were always subjected to lockdowns, searches, and yard downs/dayroom downs because of the Two Fivers activities. Over at McFarland there was no visible gang activity whatsoever.

    The few times people asked me about my conviction I just told them I was caught with an eight ball of coke. They always left me alone after that. When I was at McFarland, everyone thought I was in there for drugs and violence. It made my life easy.

    Doing time in prison was easier because you had more movement or freedom. But the stress and anxiety was still present when it came to fearing someone would find out about my conviction. County was nice because everyone in my dorm or tier were charged or convicted of a similar offense.

    I feel sorry for all the inmates that are going to be subjected to this awful social experiment. I hope it works out. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will.

    • The Static-99R Is A Scam

      I ended up with a two year sentence with 50 percent as well. I was to be placed on one year community supervision, but — three days before my release date — because of a Static score that was ONLY one point too high, they placed me on CDCR parole and labeled me “high risk sex offender.” Since then, I have been exceptionally against the Static-99R/SARATSO system because I think it unfairly flags people. And I think the misleading “high” risk label causes those given the tag to be unfairly scrutinized and violated/imprisoned for things that “low” risk offenders would have not been held accountable for.

      I completed parole in the minimum three years. But the so-called “treatment” and psychological torture imposed by quack “doctors” and the parole agent tyrants was beyond belief.

      I really don’t know how people can do several years in prison, and then parole (most had at least five), without going insane. I know this may seem unorthodox to say, but those who had to do many years in prison and parole deserve much respect, even if for the only reason of surviving or not going insane.

  12. kind of living

    I have a lot to say about this matter as I did 5yr in this shit system and it was hard ! but what I have to say about it will change nothing . But I will say this much I could have been just another number added to the body count of the many you never here about and if they start putting RC’s in main pop against their wish’s there will be many more deaths , and the prison will just cover it up just like they have been , So I will say this if you end up back in prison keep you mouth shut be the best worker you can be and above all recognize your in some punk ass MF’ers home not your home , your home is on the outside and that is your objective . getting home alive , “don’t try to play tough guy or gal” because everyone will see through it if your not , be the funny guy or the helpful guy or gal . but at all cost protect your self in a manner that they would never see it coming , because if you plan it the CO’s will charge you and not your would be assailant , stay out of prison !!! its fixing it get worse as we all can see , that’s 5 on a 9

  13. R M

    My prison time, 18 months and 21 days, was spent in a NJ minimum security prison in which everyone there had a sentence of 5 years or less. The first thing I did was flush any paperwork with my charge on it anyway. No one ever asked me what my charge was as it was understood that at least 50% there had some sort of sex offense.

    I kept to my self and only had “friends” were were in my own “behavior modification group”, but still had a few incidents where people called me out or tried to start a fight. I stood up for myself and none ever got escalated beyond intimidation.

    I fear for those in any prison that the guards turn a blind eye. In the case in the article, it seems they are going backwards for just the reason mire r stated “…because the prison officials cannot control their own prisons. This is a pathetic excuse for not doing their frigging jobs.”

  14. Not Really

    The #1 law for law enforcement is to make it home for dinner. This is a common theme over at http://blog.simplejustice.us/ (an excellent blog), but don’t try to comment with weak arguments! 🙂

    What we have here is a prison system that was never fully funded, and it was a weak system. Gangs were formed to fill the gap, for protection and self-preservation.

    This current event is a new chapter in the same book.

  15. Anonymous

    The main problem with the SNY gangs are pretty much the young drop outs, AKA, the snitches. These are young gang

  16. Anonymous

    From what I observed, the problem rests mainly with the young drop outs, AKA, the snitches. These are young gang members who were forced to dropout because they snitched to get a lesser sentence. However, that gang lifestyle never left them, and of course, they just reorganized into the SNY gangs.

    The OG lifer dropouts knew this and told me. I befriended some of these lifers, and they always complained about these idiots. These were the true drop outs – inmates that were in GP for decades, but wanted out so they could focus on themselves and get out of the politics, and make it easier for them when their parole hearing came up. They knew there were a lot of sex offenders there, but they simply didn’t care, they just wanted to do their time in peace. They’re the ones who told me that if you see a young dropout trying to be all gangster, that it’s a 99% chance they snitched, that’s why they’re there.

  17. mike r

    Yeah and it is a 99% chance that they were and are cowards as well. The drop outs are either cowards or snitches like you stated and usually both. They have no power unless they pull together and form their little alliances but you get them alone or challenge them they are weak and will back down 99% of the time. I knew a couple of lifers and they were the only ones that were serious about wanting out and now because of the ineffective and weak prison officials and weak system all those that want to rehabilitate or just do their time have to pay for what others do instead of doing their damn jobs and sending the fakers and idiots either back to GP or in the Shu. Pathetic and weak. The prison system is the most powerful union and are probably the most funded governmental program in the world but yet they only had 4 guards, for the most part, for over 400 people in a dorm. It is insane. They all want to sit behind their desk or like the action that takes place because of their lack of diligence. As long as they keep pumping out guys that are sure to re-offend then they will have a job. Bottom line…

  18. Matt

    It’s about the money. It’s always about the money. This has nothing to do with safety for any group. PC and SNY yards are expensive. There are plenty (too many) of prisons in California-Stan. If they were serious about safety of both the guards and the inmates, they would easily be able to solve these problems in a number of ways. They could keep groups apart if they wanted to. They absolutely, positively, don’t care what happens to any given group of inmates, or all inmates, as long as they don’t get hurt themselves. What they want is to do the least amount of work imaginable, while making the most amount of money for themselves. They want the prison population to self-regulate. And that’s exactly what will happen if they move forward with this plan. My time was split between S.Q. and Corcoran. The violence at S.Q. staggering. Several incidents daily. I was personally attacked twice within the first month. I fought back and eventually they left me alone. By the time I got to Corcoran, it was a totally different world. The only fights I can remember on that yard were because of debts, property crimes, or one inmate trying to swoop in on another inmate’s “girl”. By contrast, SATF at Corcoran was Disneyland compared to S.Q. CDCR knows exactly what they’re doing. The amount of prison homicides would skyrocket if they went forward with this. They’re probably lobbying behind the scenes for more money. “If you want us to keep SNY’s open, you’ll have to pony up another billion dollars or so.” I don’t think this will actually happen. But if it does, there should be a team of lawyers ready to sue the state, on behalf of those inmates and their families. The CDCR representative said it, but left something out. Yes, most of these people will eventually come home……..in body bags. The sooner we all accept that everyone involved in this nightmare would prefer us all to be graveyard dead, one way or another, the sooner we will get in the fight -collectively- and stop screwing around. All the people who control us take every single opportunity they are given to hurt us. If an opportunity isn’t given, they create one. How many times will we allow ourselves to be curb-stomped before we fight back? We need to treat them exactly the same way they treat us. Asking for them to do the right thing is as effective as handing black tar to a junkie and asking him not to use it.

    • David Kennerly, The Government-Driven Life

      Agreed! It’s time to take CDCR to court. When were you San Quentin, if I may ask. I was there in 1990 for three months when it was reception center and again on my way out.

      • Matt

        I went to S.Q. on a 90 day okie-doke in late 2008. I came back to county jail the day before Christmas of the same year. I was sent back to S.Q. in January of 2009. I was sent to GP for my first four days because the guards thought it would be fun to see if I could survive. Then I was sent to PC in S.Q. for about a month. About five weeks after the second attack, I was sent to the hole at S.Q. I stayed there until I was transferred to Corcoran. I spent about a year there. While I was in the hole at S.Q., my case went to the Ca. Supreme Court. My sentence was overturned. (long story) On paper, I have never been locked up. But the court didn’t enforce my overturn until the day after I was released, (neat trick!) I got out on Easter Sunday, 2010. I am not on the website. On 1-1-21, thanks to the great bait and switch of 2017, I will be tier 3, and on the website. My “victim” claimed to be 9 days shy of the age of 18, 5 years after the fact, for single, consensual photo that did not involve any sexual activity, but did involve nudity. I have been screwed over, so many times, that I have lost track. If I had known what I was signing up for during my plea, I would have traded 10 years of my life in exchange for registration.

  19. Greg

    People will die. There is no way around it. Does CDCR think this is a joke? There is no “we will all get along and program together” …not happening period. This isn’t going to be pretty. I hope there are major lawsuits on both sides of the fence. CDCR should be held accountable for this in some way, shape, or form… Atleast the idiots that came up with this idea. They know what will happen. I feel bad for the people in prison in both sides and their families. This is bad, real bad ☠️☠️☠️

  20. Tim Moore

    We need a law that says for every measure that increases the prison population, the taxes on everyone’s income needs to go up in proportion to pay for the increase. Right now it is too easy for people to say lock them up and keep them in there. It does have a cost, less money for education, parks, clean air and employment to name a few. The general well being of everyone, especially children, suffers to support this state sponsored violence, but people don’t get the connection unless someone say “more taxes”.

  21. Gwen

    Hi – I don’t know if this will help or add to the drama. But I was told that Wasco just went 50/50 about a week ago and that very week they had riots due to attacks on special needs inmates. A Chaplin at my family member’s prison mentioned this. The Chaplin stated that Wasco officials handled it and things seem to be smoother now….We can only hope so.

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