The high walls of Washington State Penitentiary keep prisoners locked away from the public for a specified period of time, but they don’t keep out an evil that has always been a part of public life in the United States. The vast majority of us who are locked up, no matter what our personal views might be, are forced to participate in a segregated system. Phone use, showers, dining tables, and cells are all separated by race. Groups of prisoners enforce these unwritten rules; officials not only accept but facilitate segregation.

Anyone who violates these rules can face sanctions from guards or violence from other prisoners.