Lawsuit tests racial policy at California prisons

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Updated: 7/23 2:03 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge will consider whether California's policy of locking up prisoners by race violates their constitutional rights.

U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley of Sacramento granted class-action status Wednesday to a lawsuit challenging the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's policy of locking all inmates of a particular race in their cells after a fight involving any member of that racial group.

The suit was originally filed in 2008 by inmate Robert Mitchell after he and all other black inmates at High Desert State Prison in Susanville were locked in their cells following a fight.

Attorneys say no other state has a similar policy.

The legal challenge will now apply to all roughly 125,000 male inmates within the state prison system.

The department says it is reviewing the ruling.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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