Transcript: Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner’s Q&A with ACLU’s Margaret Winter & Professor Keramet Reiter at the joint legislative hearing on solitary confinement in California – Oct. 9, 2013

Partial transcript of Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) Q&A with Margaret Winter, Associate Director of the National Prison Project for the American Civil Liberties Union, and Keramet Reiter, Assistant Professor at UC Irvine, at the joint legislative hearing on “Segregation Policies in California Prisons: Current Conditions and Implications on Prison Management and Human Rights” on Oct. 9, 2013:

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley):
…I wonder if you have info on why women in California [are in the SHU]? Is it the gang issue? Is it a violence issue? What?

Keramet Reiter, Assistant Professor at UC Irvine:
You know, one thing that would be good to know is what’s the breakdown of indeterminate and determinate because if they’re all serving determinate SHU terms, you could guess it’s not gang. I don’t know of gangs being the kind of problem in women’s prisons in California than they are in men’s prison. So my educated guess would be that that’s not it.

I have only anecdotally talked to a few women who’ve been in the SHU and usually they’ve talked about being there for determinate terms often for – they said for retaliation for filing grievances or refusing to work, you know, getting in challenges with prison administrators.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley):
Right. So potentially the issue of punishment versus because they are a danger to others. Yeah, we have to collect this data.

Margaret Winter, Associate Director of the National Prison Project for the American Civil Liberties Union:
There is no substitute for bringing in independent outside expertise like from the NIC, to bring a fresh eye to this. I don’t know if this is doable or not. If you ask the department if they would be willing to sit down with a member or couple members of this committee and, for example, take the women prisoners who are in SHU housing and say, “Let’s go over their records. Let’s explain to us why. And let’s sit down with an independent, outside expert and let’s review it. Let’s see if this is really necessary.” I don’t know if they would accept an invitation like that. But it could be very enlightening and helpful.

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One Comment on “Transcript: Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner’s Q&A with ACLU’s Margaret Winter & Professor Keramet Reiter at the joint legislative hearing on solitary confinement in California – Oct. 9, 2013

  1. Pingback: Alternatives to long-term solitary confinement in California | What The Folly?!

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