Garrison S. Johnson v. California
What's at Stake
Reviewing whether California’s policy of racially segregating all new prisoners should be subject to strict judicial scrutiny. DECIDED
California has a longstanding policy of racially segregating its prisoners during an initial classification period when they first arrive in the system or are transferred to a new facility. Although no other state has adopted a similar policy, the lower courts in this case held that California’s decision to segregate prisoners by race was entitled to deference rather than the strict judicial scrutiny that would normally apply in other settings. Among other things, the ACLU brief points out that strict judicial scrutiny is critical to maintaining public confidence in a criminal justice system that disproportionately imprisons minorities.