Oklahoma prison officials plan no change in segregation policy

Friday, February 25th 2005, 11:12 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Prison officials in Oklahoma say they have no plans to change a policy of sometime segregating inmates by race, despite a Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the practice in California.

The court ruled in a 5-to-3 decision this week that state prisons can't segregate inmates based on race, even temporarily, except under the most extraordinary circumstances.

Oklahoma State Penitentiary spokeswoman Lee Mann says race is one of several factors considered when an inmate arrives at the maximum-security prison. Mann says inmates are placed with someone who is similar culturally in an effort to make sure cellmates get along with each other.

Department of Corrections attorney Richard Kirby says the policy at the state penitentiary is not in place at all prisons in the state.

This week's case was prompted by an unwritten California policy in which inmates were automatically placed in a cell with someone of the same race for the first 60 days after their arrival at a new jail.