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Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered People in Prison For anyone that has a same sex partner, family member, friend or Pen Pal in prison that is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered.

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  #1  
Old 02-02-2018, 06:46 PM
misshimeveryday misshimeveryday is offline
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Default Gay men in general prison population vs. in protective custody?

Hello all,

I am new to this forum and to the criminal justice system in general. My very clean-cut, no-prior-offenses boyfriend is awaiting transfer from county jail to state prison in California. He is short, thin, and nerdy and I'm very worried about what could happen to him during the remainder of his sentence (between 4 and 5 years on paper, which of course we're hoping ends up being a lot shorter than that due to Prop 57 and various credit programs).

He has been in protective custody in the county jail, but is considering requesting "mainline" (I think this means the general population, i.e., not protective custody) in state prison because there may be more programming opportunities there to reduce his sentence and give back to the community. How much worse, if at all, is the environment for gay men in the general prison population vs. in protective custody? Is it worth serving a few extra months of time to avoid the heightened risk, whatever it is, of mainline custody? Is he substantially safer in protective custody? Is there a difference with respect to the reception period vs. the later permanent assignment? How accurate vs. overplayed is the popular perception that rape and violent attacks are ubiquitous in the prison system?

I am so worried about him it makes me sick. All constructive input is welcome; thank you so much.
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:16 PM
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Is his total sentence 4-5 years? If that's the case, and it's a single offense, Prop 57 won't be of much help to him. Some, yes, but depending on numerous factors-- the biggest determinate of his time served will be his percentage to serve dictated at the time of sentencing (33%, 50%, 80%, for example).

Programming is relatively the same on GP vs SNY (protective custody) so that needn't be much of a consideration. Also, be aware that CDCR is integrating yards at several facilities, essentially doing away with true SNY status. So it may not matter at all.

I understand your concern, but I think the majority of people do just fine if they follow the same 'rules' we advise everyone to follow: be respectful, don't create any debts, don't do draw unnecessary attention and remember you're there to do your time and get out.
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by misshimeveryday View Post
Is it worth serving a few extra months of time to avoid the heightened risk, whatever it is, of mainline custody? Is he substantially safer in protective custody? Is there a difference with respect to the reception period vs. the later permanent assignment?
I'm not sure what would create a longer sentence going SNY, unless you mean the potential for less programming.

I came back to this post because I think there may be some misunderstanding about how "PC" is portrayed and how it actually works in CDCR facilities. SNY (sensitive needs yards) have typically been reserved for inmates who have felt threatened on GP (mainline) yards whether that be because of the nature of their crime, being a gang drop-out, advanced age or poor health. There are many reasons an inmate goes SNY. It isn't something easily requested, though. It's something an inmate has to prove a need for. Now that they are integrating, I don't know how that affects the process.

SNY are run pretty much the same as GP. Celled the same (typically two person cells, lower level can be dorm), yard the same, dayroom the same. So there isn't any added protection in terms of exposure to other inmates, it's just that the inmates on that yard are also there because they have felt the need to be removed from GP.

In essence, the only true protective custody that ensures (at least presumes at ensure) an inmate's complete safety is the hole. Ad-Seg or the SHU (secured housing unit). That's almost always single cell (though not always) and you are on lockdown 23 hours a day. Obviously that's not ideal and frankly, not necessary unless all other options have been exhausted.
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Old 02-03-2018, 06:15 AM
misshimeveryday misshimeveryday is offline
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I'm not sure what would create a longer sentence going SNY, unless you mean the potential for less programming.

I came back to this post because I think there may be some misunderstanding about how "PC" is portrayed and how it actually works in CDCR facilities. SNY (sensitive needs yards) have typically been reserved for inmates who have felt threatened on GP (mainline) yards whether that be because of the nature of their crime, being a gang drop-out, advanced age or poor health. There are many reasons an inmate goes SNY. It isn't something easily requested, though. It's something an inmate has to prove a need for. Now that they are integrating, I don't know how that affects the process.

SNY are run pretty much the same as GP. Celled the same (typically two person cells, lower level can be dorm), yard the same, dayroom the same. So there isn't any added protection in terms of exposure to other inmates, it's just that the inmates on that yard are also there because they have felt the need to be removed from GP.

In essence, the only true protective custody that ensures (at least presumes at ensure) an inmate's complete safety is the hole. Ad-Seg or the SHU (secured housing unit). That's almost always single cell (though not always) and you are on lockdown 23 hours a day. Obviously that's not ideal and frankly, not necessary unless all other options have been exhausted.
This is very helpful, thanks. He has been in protective custody at county jail (due to being gay and past mental-health fragility) so I think the presumption would be to keep him there in prison unless he asks to be put in mainline. He is not a sex offender but many of his fellow protective custody inmates at county are; his offense should not make him a target of violence, and obviously not a gang member or dropout, but I worry that his sexuality and physical vulnerability would make him a target. More programming we assume is the benefit of mainline, since of course he wants to get out ASAP.
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Old 02-03-2018, 06:35 AM
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I agree that he should, and will be required by CDCR, to encounter an actual threat to his safety before he can go to a SNY. He will learn quickly if he is at risk in the specific GP yard where he is sent.

If he is threatened, he can check into protective custody immediately, and work on a transfer to a SNY from there. If he is threatened, he should approach a CO or other staff member right away.
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Old 02-03-2018, 12:08 PM
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If he is threatened, he can check into protective custody immediately, and work on a transfer to a SNY from there. If he is threatened, he should approach a CO or other staff member right away.
SNY is Cali is full. They're moving people around and increasing the number of integrated yards because, in part, SNY gangs are as active as mainline. It's a problem. So while I'd love to say that they will automatically remove an inmate from GP if they voice a concern, that's not always the case. My husband and another inmate I'm aware of were fobbed off by COs when they asked to be removed. It's paperwork and a logistical headache for them. Some folks have resorted to being removed for punitive reasons in order to do some time in the hole first. I don't mean to paint a grim picture and in reality, I think your loved one will be just fine. But I don't want to leave the false idea that just asking for removal is a guarantee that it will happen.
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:12 AM
misshimeveryday misshimeveryday is offline
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Originally Posted by miamac View Post
SNY is Cali is full. They're moving people around and increasing the number of integrated yards because, in part, SNY gangs are as active as mainline. It's a problem. So while I'd love to say that they will automatically remove an inmate from GP if they voice a concern, that's not always the case. My husband and another inmate I'm aware of were fobbed off by COs when they asked to be removed. It's paperwork and a logistical headache for them. Some folks have resorted to being removed for punitive reasons in order to do some time in the hole first. I don't mean to paint a grim picture and in reality, I think your loved one will be just fine. But I don't want to leave the false idea that just asking for removal is a guarantee that it will happen.
My impression was that if he was in PC in county jail he'd automatically or almost automatically be in PC in prison?
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Old 02-04-2018, 11:55 AM
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My impression was that if he was in PC in county jail he'd automatically or almost automatically be in PC in prison?
It's possible. I'm not sure what happens to that status once he hits reception. If that's true, then none of the questioning whether it's worth it will matter. Decision made and not one easily undone (and you really wouldn't want to).

I'm going to go out on a limb...non violent crime, first offense, between the age of 20 and 30?
If those things are true, he should end up on a lower level yard, likely a 2, maybe a 3. I really don't think, unless he's the type to seek attention for his sexuality, that he'll have any issues on either SNY or GP. Most folks with shorter sentences-- and I mean that in the most respectful way possible, but perspective makes anything under 5 short, just want to get their time done and get out. County is very different and in most ways more volatile than a state facility. So in that regard, his concerns should amp down a little when he transfers to his home prison.

I know you love and care for him and want him to be safe during his time. I completely understand that. I also can safely assume that he would want you to take care of yourself in his absence. I'm glad you're here talking and I hope that sooner than later you'll be able to have some of these questions sussed out through positive experience. The waiting and unknown is the hardest.

Last edited by miamac; 02-04-2018 at 12:03 PM..
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