Thursday, February 05, 2015

More inmates in solitary confinement in Texas than prison systems in 12 states

Check out a new report from ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project assessing the state's use of solitary confinement. Chuck Lindell at the Austin Statesman has an item up (Feb. 5) adumbrating their findings, which opens:
Texas prisons keep too many inmates in solitary confinement for too long — sometimes years — damaging their mental health and placing communities at risk when the prisoners are eventually released, a study by civil rights groups concluded.

Released Thursday, the report criticized Texas for keeping 4.4 percent of its inmates in solitary confinement — 6,564 in September 2014, or more than the combined prison population of 12 states.

“On average, prisoners remain in solitary confinement for almost four years; over 100 Texas prisoners have spent more than 20 years in solitary confinement,” said the report by the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project.

And although the practice can lead to mental damage, in 2013 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice released 1,243 inmates “directly from solitary confinement cells into Texas communities,” said the report, titled A Solitary Failure.


Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know how those 1,243 fared after release compared to other inmates.

CS McClellan/Catana said...

As usual, the world acts as if death row prisoners don't even exist. Texas currently has over 250 prisoners in permanent solitary confinement, and the average length of time they spend in solitary is far more than four years. But I guess it doesn't matter how much they suffer, and the community doesn't have to worry about men who will never be going back home.

Anonymous said...

The new gov. Abbott is just as bad as the old one, Perry. They think they are being smart on crime, when they are not. The inmates are treated like animals, so when they get out, guess what? The process for them getting an education is null and void. They cannot keep Instructors to help the inmates get an education so when they get out, they can get a job. No other state , except OK, treats their inmates so bad.
Long sentences are a thing of the past. Grow up, Texas dept of parole, and take care of your job better than you have been.

Anonymous said...

This is beyond horrific, barbaric, inhumane, unnecessary, and cruel and unusual punishment -- unless you are in the Middle East.

The ignorance, callousness, deliberate indifference, of these people is appalling.

I don't have words....

Anonymous said...

Guess what. Alot of people , especially those that serve on juries and sentence people to prison are disgusted at how little time inmates serve. Not everyone wants inmates out roaming for another victim.

From Texas said...

To 6:52: that's not the point here. Obviously we need to keep society safe. The point being made here is the absolute, horrific treatment of prisoners by a society which deems itself as being "civilized".
Barbarism, bordering to sadism, and a humane attitude are opposite and irreconcilable constructs; unless the end justifies the mean (Machiavelli).
America has rejected this post-Medieval Machiavellian position in favor of a Moral and Just society.
What's happening here is anything but Moral and Just. It places us at the same level of those countries we declare inhumane.
Those who participate to keep the status-quo, in my opinion and the eyes of other countries, are contributing to the evil -- thus place themselves in the category of evil-doers.
This pains me much. America is a great country. Texas is a great place to live. ... unless you dig deeply and realize these dirty little secrets which are common to other States as well.... thinking here of the Super Max facilities where there is complete sensory deprivation.
Prolonged sensory deprivation is a form of prolonged torture.
Is this what we want from a civilized society?
No, the end does not jutify the means - bec/ it makes no sense.
Such suffering does not make inmates, society, families, nor a country better. It diminishes me, you and us all.
If you try to justify it, you are spiritually and morally bankrupt -- and I will fervently pray for you, in the hope that the Universe may impart some compassion and wisdom into your heart.
I have NO HOPE that Abbott will be any different than Perry.
ONE MORE IMPORTANT THING: some of the inmates have been exonerated after years of torture - solitary IS torture.
Why? That man is your brother --
--- if you are a Christian, that man is your brother in Christ;
-- if you are a Buddhist, that man is one with the fabric of the Universe in which we live;
-- if you are an Atheist, that man is a fellow traveler in the journey that eventually will end for us all.
The wrong that we do to ONE person resonates throughout -- it boomerangs. The Indus call it Karma.
I am philosophing here in an attempt to alleviate the deepest feelings of sorrow I feel when I think of those who THIS VERY MINUTE are in the dark, alone, neglected, in physical pain, in emotional despair - with them are their families, their children, their partners.

Anonymous said...

The placement of death row inmates into automatic solitary always seems to me part of the State's effort to depict these inmates as automatically dangerous, to validate the jury's finding of "future dangerousness" which is a prerequisite to a death sentence in Texas. In reality, many DR inmates have extremely good disciplinary records, and would be classified as low to medium risk offenders if assessed using the standard TDCJ placement criteria. Other States do not have the "automatic solitary" requirement, and Missouri simply mixes death sentenced inmates into the general population and has done since 1991, casting doubt on the reflexive practices of TDCJ as having any basis in actual security need. And what about the Anthony Graves of this world - innocent but in solitary for many years? It's a barbaric practice.

The Homeless Cowboy said...

well Texas to you I would say, I am from Texas too, and REALLY?
I have been in prison,not my finest hour, I was young but no excuses made, I broke the law, I did the time. I have been in solitary confinement, since 1971 or 72 when Judge Sarah T. Hughes forced then TDC to leave open the big iron doors of solitary cells, it has not been so bad. When the big iron doors were there, you could not tell if it was day or night and it messed you all up and it was confusing.. Solitary has lost it's punitive edge. I used to ask my supervisor to give me what we called overnights in solitary so I could get some good sleep.As for death row inmates, I think it is more for the protection of guards and inmates that they are help in separate quarters, after all, they have nothing to lose.

Anonymous said...

To Homeless Cowboy:
If what you are saying is true -- which I doubt simply because, unless you are on death row, TDCJ is not allowed to place you in solitary for a whole year without giving you long brakes in between --- know this: 70% of inmates have various degrees of mental health disorders (mental illness).

Solitary confinement can worsen both short- and long-term psychological and physical problems or make it more likely that such problems will develop.

There is a plethora of research documenting that solitary is especially detrimental for mentally ill people. The following is from my own internet research (disclaimer: not all is my original work; however it is relevant for this discussion).

Although conditions vary from state to state and in different institutions, systematic policies and conditions of control and oppression used in isolation and segregation include:

Confinement behind a solid steel door for 23 hours a day
Limited contact with other human beings
Infrequent phone calls and rare non-contact family visits
Extremely limited access to rehabilitative or educational programming
Grossly inadequate medical and mental health treatment
Restricted reading material and personal property
Physical torture such as hog-tying, restraint chairs, and forced cell extraction
Mental torture such as sensory deprivation, permanent bright lighting, extreme temperatures, and forced insomnia
Sexual intimidation and violence

Even if not all the above conditions are present:

Anonymous said...

(Continued from above:) Even if not all the above-mentioned conditions are present:-- solitary does irreparable damages to the inmates.

Here's a PARTIAL list:

1. Solitary damages THE BRAIN - permanently. --- Brain imaging better conveys the damages of solitary confinement because SEVERE AND PROLONGED STRESS ALTER PATHWAYS TO THE BRAIN.
-- A PET scan, or an EEG will show permanent parenchymal atrophy - (shrinking of the brain caused by the loss of its cells, called neurons.)
“What you get from a brain scan is the ability to point to something” concrete, said law professor Amanda Pustilnik of the University of Maryland, “The credibility of psychology in the public mind is very low, whereas the credibility of our newest set of brain tools is very high.”

“There are few people who say that mental distress is permissible in punishment. But we do think harming people physically and torturing them are impermissible,”
“You can’t starve people. You can’t put them into a hotbox or maim them,” she continued. “If you could do brain scans to show that people suffer permanent damage, that could make solitary look less like some form of distress, and more like the infliction of a permanent disfigurement.” -- WELL< WE HAVE SHOWN THIS. BRAIN SCANS DON'T LIE."
2. Prolonged solitary confinement damages the inmates MENTAL HEALTH - permanently.

Haney, who in 2012 was appointed to a National Academy of Sciences committee studying the causes and consequences of high rates of incarceration in the United States, has interviewed hundreds of prison staff and inmates and toured and inspected dozens of U.S. prisons. At a June 19, 2012 hearing, he showed pictures to illustrate solitary confinement's harsh conditions, including filthy cells that are "scarcely larger than a king-sized bed," he said. As a result of the endless monotony and lack of human contact, "for some prisoners ... solitary confinement precipitates a descent into madness."
Numerous studies have documented the effects of solitary confinement on prisoners giving them the name Special Housing Unit Syndrome or SHU Syndrome. Some of the many SHU Syndrome symptoms include:

Visual and auditory hallucinations
Hypersensitivity to noise and touch
Insomnia and paranoia
Uncontrollable feelings of rage and fear
Distortions of time and perception
Increased risk of suicide

If one is not mentally ill when entering an isolation unit, by the time they are released, their mental health has been severely compromised. Many prisoners are released directly to the streets after spending years in isolation. Because of this, long-term solitary confinement goes beyond a problem of prison conditions, to pose a formidable public safety and community health problem. Many inmates experience panic attacks, depression and paranoia, and some suffer hallucinations, he said. These don't disappear when they get out.
(Disclaimer: the above is a compilation from different sources that I am not crediting for lack of space).

Anonymous said...

So, Does solitary confinement MAKE PEOPLE CRAZY??
From reported and verified data, here are some examples:
“One inmate developed some obsession with his inability to feel like his bladder was fully empty. Literally, that man spent hours, hours, 24 hours a day it was on his mind, hours standing in front of the toilet trying to pee … He couldn’t do anything else except focus on that feeling.” Others echoed that thought. --- Another inmate gauged his eye out......... ers pace up and down, up and down, causing the sole of their feet to become raw and peel.

4. Solitary Confinement permanently stunts DEVELOPMENT in JUVENILES, -

--The effects of solitary confinement on juveniles can be highly detrimental to their growth. The isolation of solitary confinement can cause anguish, provoke serious mental and physical health problems, and work against rehabilitation for juveniles.Because young people are still developing, traumatic experiences like solitary confinement may have a profound effect on their chance to rehabilitate and grow.

4 - Solitary confinement damages EYESIGHT AND INTERNAL ORGANS -- permanently -i.e. the body manufactures Vit. D in sunlight, circadian rhythms need alternating day/night to function for proper sleep patterns, hormone production depend on predictable cycles --- etc. ,
kidneys, liver, lungs,--- are all effected. If you don't believe me, I'll elaborate upon your requesting me to do so.

It’s tough. In a study of inmates at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, psychologist Craig Haney found that prisoners “lose the ability to initiate or to control their own behavior, or to organize their own lives.” Haney, a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, attributed this loss to the near total lack of control that prisoners have over their day-to-day lives in solitary.

Often time, he found, prisoners in solitary “begin to lose the ability to initiate behavior of any kind — to organize their own lives around activity and purpose.” What results is chronic apathy, lethargy, depression and despair. “In extreme cases, prisoners may literally stop behaving.”

“I’ve had prisoners tell me that the first time they’ve been given an opportunity to interact with other people, they can’t do it,” Haney told FRONTLINE. “They don’t come out of their cell … And obviously this social atrophy, the anxiety which surrounds social interaction can be extremely disabling and problematic for people who are released from solitary confinement, either released back into the larger prison community, or even more poignantly, released from solitary confinement into the larger society.”
Disclaimer: this is a compendium of data obtained from the interned -
Continues below:

Anonymous said...


"Solitary confinement violates basic human rights

Prison isolation fits the definition of torture as stated in several international human rights treaties, and thus constitutes a violation of human rights law. For example, the U.N. Convention Against Torture defines torture as any state-sanctioned act “by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person” for information, punishment, intimidation, or for a reason based on discrimination.

For all these reasons—for the safety of our communities, to respect our responsibility to follow international human rights law, to take a stand against torture wherever it occurs, and for the sake of our common humanity—prison isolation and segregation must end."

From Dallas said...

“I’ve had prisoners tell me that the first time they’ve been given an opportunity to interact with other people, they can’t do it,” ... “They don’t come out of their cell … And obviously this social atrophy, the anxiety which surrounds social interaction can be extremely disabling and problematic for people who are released from solitary confinement, either released back into the larger prison community, or even more poignantly, released from solitary confinement into the larger society.”

Anonymous said...

Actually, death row inmates have a lot (relatively speaking) to lose if they misbehave - misconduct can be introduced as evidence in a retrial, or in clemency proceedings. An inmate's already very limited "privileges" can be taken away. On the old death row, many inmates worked without incident in a garment factory, using clippers, sewing machines etc. Any anyone who studies the statistics knows that the offense of which you are convicted is a poor indicator of whether you will be a problem inmate. Death row housing conditions are more to do with perceptions than legitimate security concerns.

From Dallas said...

For all these reasons—for the safety of our communities, to respect our responsibility to follow international human rights law, to take a stand against torture wherever it occurs, and for the sake of our common humanity—prison isolation and segregation must end."

IT MUST END, BUT IT WON'T -- not in Texas.

Anonymous said...

AMEN 7:23

Anonymous said...

As part of a 20-year class action suit, evidence shows Californian prisons unnecessarily isolated disabled inmates.

Judge: California Violated ADA by Segregating Disabled Prisoners - NPQ - Nonprofit Quarterly

A judge in California ordered prisons to stop the practice of isolating disabled prisoners unnecessarily.

From Dallas said...

A federal judge in Oakland, currently addressing a 20-year class action suit concerning the care of prisoners with disabilities, has ordered California to stop placing disabled inmates in solitary confinement units segregated from the general population.

The class action against the state cites the troubling yet all too common practice of overusing solitary confinement, often as a form of punishment. Judge Claudia Wilken said that by continuing to segregate the disabled inmates, the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prevents discrimination based on a disability, as well as several court orders.

Solitary confinement involves detaching a prisoner from human contact, sometimes limited only to the prison staff, for 22 or 23 hours a day. In other more extreme situations, an inmate can be confined to the room for 24 hours with no human interaction.

The majority of the infractions were at one prison facility, Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility located in San Diego. While lawyers for both the prisoners and the state had agreed back in 2012 that the inmates would be given suitable housing, prison logs show that 211 inmates had been put in solitary confinement cellblocks despite court orders to stop the practice.

According to lawyers for the corrections department at the San Diego prison, the inmates were being kept in isolation temporarily while the state tried to accommodate a weekly influx of 400 to 600 inmates as prisoners were transferred between prisons. However, lawyers for the prisoners indicated the practice was seen at 10 other prisons, illustrating a pattern. The same facility in San Diego is currently undergoing construction to build a housing project in an effort to reduce the state’s prison population, as per a 2011 state law.

February 3, 2015; Los Angeles Times

Anonymous said...

As goes California, so will go Texas...
but 50 years behind.
There is hope.
Texas moves only if the Feds tell it to, there is potential loss of money,
there is potential embarrassment to politicians who want to run for president.


From Dallas said...

Too Many American Lives are Thrown Away in Solitary Confinement:

David Davis said...

Where were all the liberals when Bush started his get tough on crime policy.This was the time when juveniles started receiving sentences up to 40yrs.These are the children that were victimized by Busch's policy. I don't see how the problem will ever be corrected as long as juveniles receive long term sentences. Punishment not treatment is the way of life in the Texas Penal code.David Davis,retired Behavior Specialist Supervisor for tee Texas Youth Commission. A time when treatment came first.

David Davis said...

The past summer I had the pleasure of being invited to a support seminar for kids that received long term sentences twenty years ago. The average length of stay for about 9 of the men was 15yrs flat. They say that solitary confinement is issused to inmates like serving them breakfast daily. They say this is a part of their daily routine.What a way to have to live.

Anonymous said...

There are no "liberals" in Texas. The Democratic party agenda in Texas, would be considered a "Republican" agenda anywhere else.

Texas is hopelessly conservative, but in a way that seemingly borders bigotry --- until you realize that money (or greed) drives the political machine. It's not as much ignorance, but about deliberately having a very conservative fiscal agenda. The hell with humanity and compassion.

sunray's wench said...

Anon 2.36 ~ but even that conservative fiscal agenda is flawed because keeping inmates in solitary (or as close to it as TDCJ gets) actually costs more, not less, even in the short term. The guard to inmate ratio is much higher, so that costs more overall. The lack of activity, including the ability of the inmate to do any kind of work (paid or not) means the inmate is making a loss for TDCJ. The health care cost when the inmate is put back in general population is likely to be higher if they seek what basic psychiatric care TDCJ offers. And then the cost socially when the inmate is released (all supposing the inmate is not on DR or doing LWOP) is greater to the community as a whole, which though the politicians may want to turn a blind eye to, they are still responsible for paying for.

Nothing about the current practices makes any kind of sense to anyone, except those who use the status quo to maintain their own short-sighted lifestyles.

If those who care enough to post as Anon here and elsewhere actually stood for political office, and others who post as Anon here and elsewhere voted for them, things might actually change. But you are being bullied into silence. I thought Texans were made of stronger stuff.

Anonymous said...

"....those who care enough to post as Anon here and elsewhere actually stood for political office..." True and well said. I sincerely do wish that it were so easy. Ours is not a true Democracy, it never was. It has always been a oligarchy composed, in the old days of land-owners, and currently by powerful dynasties (see the Bush family and other local families that go way back). When a newcomer is elected, giving the appearance of a true democratic process, I guarantee you: old money or new-acquired money and special interests are behind the elected official.
I STILL LOVE THE SYSTEM, IT"S THE BEST IN THE WORLD -- yet, it needs improving and it won't -- because such is the nature of power. Those who have it, want to keep it.
To reply to your post -
to stand for political office, one requires:

1. Time: those of us who work 40+ hours a week, and often more, who are raising children, are unable to put the time at the State level, which where it counts the most.

2. Money: if you appear to be a liberal, political contributions will be non-existent. I don't know many rich people who are interested to go against the status quo. That's the reason why even the Democratic party is conservative here (by national standards).

3. Know-How: if one is posting here feeling helpless, very likely s/he is not strong enough to run; if we those posting here are politicians, very likely they are already part of the problem, or attempting a solution.

4. Do not assume that those who post here under "anonymous" are not running for political office or trying to run.
There are many reasons for not disclosing one's identity. One is RETALIATION.

5. Families of the incarcerated, guards who are told to keep out of politics, recently released inmates.... .. politicians who have to watch their p's and q's.... etc. are at risk of being subject to retaliation themselves, or place others at risk.

So, please, your tone seems judgmental..... and the content is ill-informed. If you sincere, accept my apologies. Regardless, Thank-You, for expressing your thoughts and for giving me an opportunity to clarify.
And yes, I am posting as "anonymous" for another reason which I don't feel comfortable addressing. It doesn't matter who says what -- it matters that words are heard, then spread around by those who are ON BOTH SIDES OF THE FENCE

Anonymous said...

I did not mean to say that the content of your post is "ill-informed" - I was typing too fast --- Ill-informed are those who help maintaining the status-quo. I agree with what you have said and I apologize from my own tone if it was disrespectful. It's 3:00 in the morning and I am tired. I can only post late at night..... Have a blessed day!

sunray's wench said...

Anon 3.17 ~ no apology required. I do understand and I sympathise. It's just so frustrating to see so few do so little to help those who they are elected to serve.

I guess the only other option is to leave the state to those who like it the way it is. But those on parole already have a very difficult time transfering to anywhere else, even though the legal ability is there for them to do so. Interstate Compact agreements typically take 2 years for Texas to complete, yet other states manage it in less than half the time. And yes, I do understand that it is not easy to just up-sticks and move a family.

There has to be some way though. Has to be.

Anonymous said...

"Numerous studies have documented the effects of solitary confinement on prisoners giving them the name Special Housing Unit Syndrome or SHU Syndrome. Some of the many SHU Syndrome symptoms include:

Visual and auditory hallucinations
Hypersensitivity to noise and touch
Insomnia and paranoia
Uncontrollable feelings of rage and fear
Distortions of time and perception
Increased risk of suicide

When the inmates display the above-mentioned symptoms while they are still incarcerated, THEY ARE GIVEN MORE SOLITARY, their privileges are taken away.
While in solitary, their property (the little bit they have) is "lost".

PEOPLE WHO RUN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES ARE totally CRAZY to allow such insane procedures. May all go to hell!

Anonymous said...

There is always more to a story than meets the eye, the gang members that are segregated are not just some petty street gang members. There are over 2000 different gangs in Texas but only 7 groups are locked down. Those 7 groups are organized crime gangs and they commit murders, assault, extort, and anything else that will provide money and power to them. They are segregated not only to protect the staff but the offender's that are now trying to do the right things and maybe get a trade but cannot when they have to constantly worry about the vicious predators in these organized criminal groups. The average offender does not want to be around this type of organization that preys on the weaker offender population. These groups gain control and have more influence on the offender population when they are not in segregation. Also, it should be mentioned that the gang members can easily get out of segregation by just renouncing their membership with the group and going through a program that helps with rehabilitation and gives them tools to succeed outside of these groups, but I guess in today's world that would be asking too much for someone to renounce a violent organized crime gang.

Anonymous said...

Here's one of the inmates you so desperately trying to get in General Population.

ROCKWALL – Former Rockwall County assistant district attorney Rick Calvert, who in 1998 prosecuted prison inmate Billy Joel Tracy for aggravated assault and burglary at the trial where he was sentenced to life in prison, told The Rockwall News yesterday that Tracy is the most violent and dangerous defendant he has ever prosecuted.

“In my 23 years as a state and federal prosecutor, Billy Joel Tracy is the most violent and dangerous defendant I have ever prosecuted,” said Calvert, who was an Assistant District Attorney in Rockwall County from 1992 to 2002. He is now an Assistant United States Attorney who runs the organized crime section in the US Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Texas in Dallas.

Calvert also recalled Tracy writing a letter the prosecutor offered at trial in which Tracy said “he would kill a guard if they ever made a mistake.”

Wednesday Tracy did so, when he fatally beat new Texas correctional officer Timothy Davison to death with an iron bar officers use to unlock the small meal tray openings in cell doors while the guard was escorting the inmate from a day room to his cell.

Calvert added that Tracy was so vicious he broke every bone in the face of the 16-year-old Garland girl he was convicted of assaulting and accused of kidnapping and raping.

“He is a very bad guy. His victim in the Rockwall case had every bone in her face broken. Most teeth knocked out.”

“He went toe to toe with a Rockwall police officer for over 10 minutes the night before his arrest,” said Calvert. The officer was hospitalized.

Current Heath Public Safety Chief Terry Garrett, who was a Rockwall police officer in 1998, told The Rockwall News this morning that he still remembers the search conducted for Tracy and his arrest in Rockwall.

“Yes, I do remember the search,” he wrote in an email. “All parents were notified by the school district. The active search area was being controlled by law enforcement only.”

“My involvement in the case that day did not include any investigative duties as to what Tracy’s background or motivation was. Garland PD was the agency involved in the kidnapping portion of the crime and Rockwall PD was responsible for the search and investigation into the two assaults”

According to a Dallas Morning News article, Tracy eluded officers for 11 hours in Rockwall until he was captured after doing a back flip from the roof of a three-story house, saying “Bye Bye.” He was hospitalized for his injuries.

Calvert recalled Tracy’s mother being at the trial. Tracy supposedly had a head injury. His attorney was Celia Sams, whom The Rockwall News has attempted to contact for additional information about the inmate and what may have happened to him to cause such rage and defiance at a young age.

Anonymous said...

California's efforts to ease its famously harsh use of solitary confinement are clashing with a bloody reality after an inmate who spent decades alone in a tiny cell was sent back to the general population and killed by fellow inmates within days. Hugo "Yogi" Pinell's repeated assaults on guards landed him in solitary confinement beginning in the early 1970s, making him one of the longest-serving solitary confinement inmates in the nation, said Keramet Reiter, a University of California, Irvine, professor of criminology who studies the issue. His involvement in a bloody 1971 San Quentin escape attempt that left six dead, including three guards, also helped spur the creation of super-maximum prisons like Pelican Bay State Prison, designed to isolate the most incorrigible and dangerous criminals and gang leaders, Reiter said. More recently, the 45 years Pinell spent in segregation helped drive the national debate over the isolation of prisoners. The issue recently drew criticism from both President Barack Obama and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Pinell's life behind bars traced the rise of extreme isolation as a prison-management tool from its start to its recent decline, she said. The 71-year-old's death Wednesday in an exercise yard comes as California is trying to settle a federal lawsuit filed in 2009 by two killers who, like Pinell, served time in the notorious Pelican Bay security housing unit on California's North Coast. "When somebody in those circumstances gets out and they're killed within two weeks on the yard, that's just a real blow, symbolically," said Carol Strickman, a staff attorney for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children who is involved in the settlement talks. Other transfers of prisoners from isolation to the general population have gone relatively smoothly, she said, calling for an independent investigation of Pinell's death. Pinell was released from segregation because he had no recent gang-related behavior, corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said in an email. His last rules violation was in October for refusing an order. It was his first violation since 1978, when he was twice found to have been involved in inmate disturbances. Asked if Pinell's death might affect the department's efforts to lower the number of inmates held in isolation, Thornton said it would depend on the outcome of an investigation. Pinell's attorney, Keith Wattley, said prison officials should have known his client was in danger because he had been threatened and attacked repeatedly over the years, including receiving threats as recently as this year. In 1979, a white inmate threw an improvised bomb into Pinell's cell at Folsom State Prison, and in 1984 he was stabbed by a member of a faction of his own purported prison gang, the Black Guerrilla Family. Pinell long denied any gang connection. He was the kind of inmate who needed to be kept isolated from others, according to Matthew Buechner, a corrections department special investigator who trained other corrections officials in dealing with prison gangs until he retired last fall. The attack at California State Prison, sacramento, immediately sparked a riot involving about 70 inmates of the roughly 100 inmates who were in the exercise yard. Eleven prisoners were sent to outside hospitals, corrections officials said. Three remained hospitalized Friday.