By Julie Small
August 19, 2014

Segregating prison inmates who repeatedly break the rules or turn violent against other inmates or guards is not new in California. For years the state has placed these inmates in special housing sections with multiple barriers between them and others. But the practice of isolating inmates whose bad behavior may be part of a mental illness is under fire amid a rash of suicides and attempted suicides. The focus on this type of treatment comes against a backdrop of lawsuits brought by inmates against the state over the last two decades. Those lawsuits have exposed a correctional system poorly equipped to handle their extraordinary needs.

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