California’s prisons have long been integrated. Women’s housing, dining rooms, camps, classrooms, programs, work assignments, yards, visiting and dorms already have integration policies in place.
The Integrated Housing Program will give us more versatility in housing male inmates, assist in gang management, reduce racial tension, break down prejudicial barriers and attitudes and reflect community values.
However, this plan does not call for forced integration. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is not mandated to integrate the entire inmate population with respect to in-cell housing. Current safety and security measures will remain. Employees are still expected to use sound custodial decisions for safe housing. Should there be a race-related incident, the plan would be temporarily suspended. Offenders who pose a threat to one another will be separated. Safety is paramount.
Historically, the CDCR used race as one factor in housing decisions, primarily at reception centers. The new regulations ensure that race will not be the sole determining factor. We are confident this plan will work and promote inmate integration where safe and appropriate to do so.