Race, Racism and the Law 
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Prisons

United States Report on Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,
  Initial Country Report (Sept, 2000). 

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Vernellia R. Randall
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 Prisons. Title 28, C.F.R. Part 551.90 provides that federal inmates "may not be discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, nationality, sex, disability, or political belief. Each Warden shall ensure that administrative decisions and work, housing, and program assignments are non-discriminatory." In addition, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. sec. 1997 et seq., gives the Department of Justice jurisdiction to investigate institutional conditions and to sue state and local governments for a pattern or practice of egregious or flagrant unlawful conditions. Since CRIPA was enacted, the Civil Rights Division has investigated more than three hundred facilities in thirty-nine states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As a result of the Department of Justice's CRIPA efforts, tens of thousands of institutionalized persons who were living in dire, often life-threatening conditions now receive adequate care and services. Additionally, the Department of Justice has obtained orders prohibiting the segregation of prisoners by race.

Federal Bureau of Prisons staff receive diversity management training during the Introduction to Correctional Techniques at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center which is required for all new primary law enforcement employees. Diversity management principles are again emphasized during annual refresher training, which is required for all employees. Finally, a large number of national Bureau training seminars also have a session on diversity management.

The Bureau of Prisons maintains two separate databases of discrimination complaints filed by inmates. Inmates may seek formal review of an issue which relates to virtually any aspect of their confinement, if informal procedures have not resolved the matter. See 28 C.F.R. Part 542, Administrative Remedy. This program applies to all inmates confined in institutions operated by the Bureau of Prisons, inmates designated to contract Community Corrections Centers under Bureau of Prisons responsibility, and former inmates for issues that arose during their confinement.

Inmates must first attempt informal resolution of grievances before filing a formal request for administrative remedy. The initial request is filed at the institution level. If the inmate is not satisfied with the Warden's response, he or she may appeal to the Regional Office. If the inmate is not satisfied with the Regional Director's response, he or she may file a Central Office Administrative Remedy Appeal. After receiving the response from the Administrator, National Inmate Appeals, the inmate has exhausted the Bureau's administrative remedy program.

The records regarding allegations of discrimination in the administrative remedy program, however, do not distinguish between the various forms of discrimination. Thus, the general category of "discrimination" includes allegations of racial or ethnic discrimination, as well as discrimination based on gender, disability, religious belief, or national origin. Accordingly, it is not possible to provide statistics specifically on the number of allegations regarding racial or ethnic discrimination.

The second database that the Bureau of Prisons uses to monitor complaints is through the Office of Internal Affairs. All allegations of staff misconduct are required to be referred to the Bureau of Prisons Office of Internal Affairs which has the responsibility within the Bureau to ensure that allegations and appearances of staff misconduct and impropriety, including criminal matters, are reported to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. The Inspector General has the authority to investigate serious incidents itself or defer the case to the Bureau of Prisons for an administrative investigation. The Inspector General may also refer criminal matters, e.g., physical or sexual abuse of an inmate, to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division for prosecutorial consideration under applicable statutes.

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Same level:
Equality Before Tribunals ] Discrimination by Law Enforcement ] Overrepresentation in the criminal justice system ] Disparities in Sentencing ] Capital Punishment ] [ Prisons ] Article 5(b) Security of Person ] Article 5(c) Political Rights ] Article 5(d) Other Civil Rights ] Article 5(e) Economic Social and Cultural Rights ] Article 5(f) Access to Public Accommodations ]
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Parent Level:
Introduction ] General Report ] Legal Prohibition ] U.S. Reservations, Understandings and Declarations ] Compliance with Specific Articles ] Article 1 - Racial Discrimination ] Article 2 ] Art 3 Condemn Racial Segregation and Apartheid ] Article 4 Eliminate Incitements or Acts of Discrimination ] Article 5 Equality Under the Law ] Article 6 Assure Effective Protection and Remedies ] Article 7 Adopt Measures ] Conclusion ]
Units:
[Race and Racial Groups] [Citizenship Rights]  [Justice and Race] [Patterns of Basic Needs] [Intersectionality Issues] [Human Rights]
 

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Last Updated:
Friday, October 05, 2001  

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Thanks to Derrick Bell and his pioneer work: 
Race, Racism and American Law
(1993).