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Dispatches from the Inside: A prisoner's take on inmate safety

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Richard Gilliam is incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.

June 15, 2012

California corrections Officials Place Policy Decisions Over Inmate Safety

On June 11, a melee between antagonistic factions of northern and southern Hispanics erupted on the California Men’s Colony prison’s “F” unit. Enmity between these two groups is both long-standing and well known to corrections officials. Because of this, CMC officials removed all northern Hispanic inmates from all yards in the West Facility in March of 2011, after a violent free-for-all involving dozens of members of these groups boiled over.

In spite of repeated warnings from knowledgeable inmates; that that reintroducing northern Hispanics to the West facility would result in further violence, CMC officials did just that. The result was the predicted altercation, which fortunately resulted in only minor injuries to the participants. A general lockdown of the affected areas of the West facility remains in effect.

It is rumored that corrections officials plan to try and place northern Hispanics on the West facility again, in the near future, while in prisons such as San Quentin, CMF-Vacaville and Solano house these prisoners without fear of attack by southern Hispanics.

Richard Gilliam