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Federal judge authorizes expansion of California prison inmates suing over conditions

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OAKLAND, California — A federal judge expanded a lawsuit filed by inmates being held in isolation at California's Pelican Bay State Prison to include prisoners who transferred to another prison.

The judge ruled Tuesday that inmates who spent more than 10 years in the Northern California prison's security housing units but are now held in similar conditions in California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi in Southern California are now covered by the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that living conditions in the security housing units amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment because of the cells extreme isolation. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says the security housing units are necessary to remove violent gang members from the prison system's general population.

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