A federal judge is expected to sign off on a decision by California corrections officials to give up its unique use of race-based punishment as a tool to control violence in its crowded prisons.
Prison officials had said that using race to implement lockdowns and other restrictions on inmate movement was an important safety tool.
They cited the need to immobilize large segments of the prison population while conducting investigations after riots and other violent events, and to help hide the identities of inmates who might be helping them.
Inmates' lawyers said the state was using race as a stand-in for gang involvement, unfairly punishing prisoners who had done nothing wrong. They said no other state in the nation used such a broad policy.
Prison lawyers cited as many as 160 race-based lockdowns lasting six weeks or longer in a given year in California.