WHAT IS PROTECTIVE CUSTODY?
The Department of Corrections can take preemptive action and require high risk prisoners to be held in protective custody (or PC).
Prisoners who are repeatedly threatened or attacked can request protective custody. However, this classification is not automatically granted. The prisoner must usually prove he/she is in some sort of extreme danger.
HOW DOES PC WORK?
If placed in PC, the prisoner is housed away from others, usually alone in a single cell. They are not allowed to participate in general population activities, such as going to the rec yard, chow hall, open visitation, classes, or church services. They are also more heavily guarded when being transported from one place to another.
DOES PC REDUCE VIOLENCE?
Most prisoners would rather stand up and fight for themselves than go into protective custody. Prisoners will often seek to surround themselves with other prisoners who will back them up if they are attacked.
This increases tensions within the prison population and explains why prisoners constantly watch everyone around them. They are aware that violence can erupt at any time and always seek to put themselves in the most advantageous position to avoid attack.