By Angelo Falcone
Journalism Guild Writer
An elected group of inmates compose the Men’s Advisory Council, given the job of protecting the rights of fellow prisoners.
The council, best known as MAC, is established under provisions of Title 15 and the Department of Operation Manual, the basic rules and policies for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
MAC is not a grievance committee, but is serves “to advise and communicate with the warden and other staff” on matters that affect the prison population.
“Each Warden shall establish an inmate advisory council which is representative of that facility’s inmate ethnic groups,” Title 15 states. It further requires MAC representatives to operate under a constitution and by-laws. Only inmates shall nominate and elect MAC representatives.
The MAC provides inmates with representation and a voice in administrative deliberations and decisions affecting the welfare and best interest of all inmates. It also provides the warden and administrative staff a vehicle to communicate administrative actions.
The warden reserves the right to determine if an inmate can “effectively function” as a MAC representative, especially if the person has disciplinary history that is deemed “detrimental to the council’s effectiveness.”
Misbehavior by a MAC representative, while conducting MAC business, will result in disciplinary actions and/or removal from the MAC.
Title 15 also specifies that the MAC shall not “become involved with inmate appeals unless the matter affects the general inmate population and such involvement is authorized by the warden.”
Its concerns “shall be limited to areas of institution operation that have a direct impact on the general population or on substantial segments of the population.”
MAC “shall not function as a grievance committee nor involve itself in an individual’s grievance or request for action on appeal,” the rules state.
“When it comes to personal issues or individual appeals, the MAC may direct inmates to Title 15 to help them file an appeal to address their issues,” said Sam W. Johnson Sr., MAC chairperson.