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California prison guards allege rampant racial segregation

[JURIST] California officials lied to the US Supreme Court [official website] about racial segregation in the state's prisons, according to state prison guards and inmates quoted in the Wednesday edition of the Riverside Press-Enterprise. According to the newspaper, one correctional officer filed a whistleblower complaint with the state auditor over a false statement given to the Supreme Court in November. The guards and inmates say that segregation is rampant throughout the system. Late last year the court heard Johnson v. California [Duke Law backgrounder], the case of black male Garrison Johnson who claimed his 14th Amendment [text] right to equal protection under the law was violated by the prison's racial segregation policies. California Senior Assistant Attorney General Frances Grunder and Attorney General Bill Lockyer [official website] told the Supreme Court that racial segregation is limited to an inmates' first 60 days at a prison before they are fully integrated. Six correctional officers have said inmates, who are ruled by prison gang leaders, demand a division along racial lines in cell assignments and other aspects of prison life. The state attorney general's office briefly revisited the issue after Johnson's attorney said Lockyer and Grunder misled the court but was assured that the segregation is temporary. The case is still under consideration. Read the US Ninth Circuit ruling [PDF] appealed from. AP has more.

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