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Mellow assignment #2

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Summary The of California has seen an alarming rate of prison violence in the past and the recent tragic event of the stabbing of Correctional Officer Manuel A. Gonzalez, Jr. at the California Institution for Men has made the required authorities realize how important this matter is. Prison is a place where convicted felons are sent to lead their lives in apathy and work in correctional facilities to improve their behavior deemed fit for leading normal lives. While most of the prisoners weaken as captives, others get stronger and prove to be more threatening than they were before.
One such example can be given by the popularized total white prison gang founded after the state prisons started to become desegregated, The Brand. According to the article in The New Yorker, The Brand became the most lethal prison gang in the history of America, starting from California and spreading in other state prisons around the country. They brutally stabbed, strangulated and poisoned their inmates, rival gang members, blacks and homosexuals, child molesters, prison guards and anyone that annoyed them. Apart from the killings, the Brand leaders ordered contracted hits extorted the victims, robbed from them and were involved deeply into drug trafficking inside the prison wall. Also popularly known as the Aryan Brotherhood, they had the motto of Blood In/Blood Out meaning a person had to take a life to become a member and losing ones own life was how the membership ended.
Another example in time is the incident that took in the California Institution for Men, which serves as a Level I, II and III prison where the designed capacity is overshadowed with present number of inmates. On January 10, 2005 the correctional officer Manuel A. Gonzalez, Jr. was stabbed by an inmate Jon Christopher Blaylock, who was transferred six months before from a Level IV maximum security prison. The inquiry in the matter found out that the inmate was inappropriately housed in a minimum security Level I area, was long awaiting transfer, had easy access to weapons and security was lax among several findings.
According to the article in the Prison Journal, prisons in California are facing an increasing threat of overcrowding and high service costs. The goal to classify the inmates was to protect the public and help prisoner rehabilitation, was left in the dark when the budget constraints hit. Prisoners are either uselessly held in expensive facilities to maintain the ‘ public safety’ while others are kept in minimum security zones. In California only 11% of the prisoners are kept in minimum security areas while 43% are kept in maximum security. Following up this claim, the study found out that inmates’ duration of stay at the prison didn’t have any affect on violence and usually decreased such nature. Most of the prisoner classification is dependant on the prisoner’s sentence length, the study found it to be inappropriate which increases the costs for the prison.
Opinion
1) Analyze and monitor the prisoner reception carefully and keep a close eye on prisoners by keeping a strongly knit unit of guards. Reception is the vulnerable point where the prisoner needs to be assigned appropriately while a keen look out should always be in place for all prisoners. (Cate, 2005)
2) Prisoner activity should be monitored, they should be given more space and group activities should be minimized. They will likely to elicit prison dynamics to find out how prison violence increases and what could be done to diminish it. (Grann, 2004)
3) Classify the inmates based on a variety of factors such as age, past record, convictions other than just the sentence length since the sentence length doesn’t tell the complete story of the prisoner. (Fernandez & Neiman, 1998)
Works Cited
1. Cate, Matthew L. (2005). Special review into the death of correctional officer Manuel A. Gonzalez, Jr. on January 10, 2005 at the California institution for men. Office of the Inspector General. State of California.
2. Fernandez, Kenneth E. & Neiman, Max (1998). California’s Inmate Classification System: Predicting Inmate Misconduct. The Prison Journal. Vol 78. Number 4. Sage Publications.
3. Grann, David (2004). Annals of Crime: The Brand. The New Yorker, Prisons Seminar Reading Part C.

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