Challenging Conditions of Confinement in SHU

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[Control Units] [Gang Validation] [California]

Challenging Conditions of Confinement in SHU

I have a habeas corpus petition in the Superior Court which challenges the "conditions of confinement" in California Department of Corrections and "Rehabilitation" (CDCR) Security Housing Units (SHUs), and the pro forma sham "periodic reviews" that CDCR purports to conduct for possible release from SHU.

My "conditions of confinement" challenge is based upon the fact that 30% of the validated "gang affiliates" in SHU are actually "gang associates," which are basically prisoners who had a social relationship with one prisoner who was a former gang "associate" [or member], or an "associate" who had been classified by CDCR as no longer "active" in the gang, i.e. a guy who has been "inactive" for a minimum of six years, or who had a social relationship with a "gang" member. How such a one-on-one social relationship constitutes "associating" with the gang is a leap of logic only a CDCR mentality could make.

It is unconstitutional for the government to find a person guilty of "association" sans any overt acts of personal misconduct. So it is very curious that prisoners are the only group of citizens who are consistently placed in SHU on the sole basis of being "guilty by association" without any charge of personal misconduct, and without any finding of guilt of any acts of personal misconduct, or of any acts of misconduct on behalf of or at the behest of a "gang."

Since Title 15, Section 3312(A) mandates that all prisoner misconduct be handled in the specific manners set forth in that section/regulation. Either CDCR is in violation of Section 3312(A), or there has been no misconduct! If there has been no misconduct, then a prisoner cannot be subjected to punitive treatment. Punitive treatment includes conditions of confinement that are historically recognized as punishment. So, it is all about identifying the conditions in SHU that are historically recognized as CDCR (or general prison) punishment, such as: loss of privileges, loss of property, solitary confinement, etc.

I know that making the SHU more comfortable is not an acceptable alternative to closing the SHU. But if you take the whip away from the CDCR, and SHU becomes just another general population facility with just a "maximum custody" designation, it then loses its value to CDCR.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Why would the government want to torture people for talking to someone? Presumably they fear this persyn. This has nothing to do with "misconduct" or "safety" and everything to do with politics; one group oppressing another. Yet, control units are still torture, no matter if the population decreases or increases by 30%. As this comrade states, there is no humane alternative to abolishing the SHU altogether.