California State Prison, Corcoran will resume yard exercise periods for inmates in Security Housing Units (SHU) tomorrow, December 28, 1996.
“I believe problems in the management of the yards have been identified and corrective actions taken since I suspended yard activity November 22,” said James H. Gomez, Director of Corrections. “Staff have been provided detailed training this month on the SHU exercise yard policy in order to effectively manage the exercise yards.”
A review of practices at Corcoran revealed that due to a recent, rapid turnover of management staff, additional training was needed to achieve the consistent management of the SHU exercise yard system. It was also found that disruptive inmates at Corcoran SHU were not being given priority transfers to the more segregated SHU design at Pelican Bay State Prison.
It will take several days before exercise yard activity is restored to full operation as a few inmate yard groups are released at a time. There currently are about 1,300 inmates in the Corcoran SHU.
“By the gradual return of yard exercise, staff will be able to monitor closely inmate reactions,” Director Gomez said. “These inmates represent the most dangerous predators within the California prison system, and are among the most difficult for prison staff to manage.”
It is known that several disruptive groups have engaged in yard fights in an effort to gain control of those yards. Despite these attempts, almost 99 percent of yard activity from January to November had no incidents or fights.
Director Gomez authorized the appointment of an ombudsman for Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) and an ombudsman for CSP Corcoran. As independent entities, the ombudsmen will work inside the prisons and will review and respond to inmate complaints and appeals and monitor institution operations and procedures.