What happens when prison populations are integrated after decades of being kept apart? | KALW

What happens when prison populations are integrated after decades of being kept apart?

Oct 17, 2018

From San Quentin Radio:

Back in the 90s, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, or CDCR was trying to manage escalating violence behind prison walls. One way they decided to address that issue was by establishing something called Sensitive Needs Yards, or SNY, in order to separate out people who might need protective custody from the general prison population.

These were people like police informants, former gang members, and people viewed as committing ‘unfavorable crimes,’ like child molestation. But in the past several months, CDCR has decided to desegregate the population, so that all incarcerated people will live together.

San Quentin is one prison that already has ‘non-designated programming facilities’, or integrated yards. But integration is not always a smooth process. From San Quentin Radio, reporter Gregg Sayers brings you a conversation between Louis Light, who has always been part of the general prison population, and Michael Hildebrandt, who was formerly housed in SNY, to hear what their experiences were like apart, and what it’s like to live together now.