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CDC Must Establish Hobby Program

Lassen County Superior Court Judge J. Harvey issued a writ of habeas corpus on August 16, 1994, which ordered the California Department of Corrections (CDC) to establish a hobby program and store materials at the California Correctional Center (CCC) at Susanville. Steve Yakle, a CCC prisoner, was transferred to CCC from Folsom, where he participated in a hobby program. Upon arrival at CCC he was informed that the prison had no hobby program nor would it store the hobby materials he had purchased at Folsom. Yale filed a writ of habeas corpus contending that California prison rules required CCC to have a hobby craft program. Judge Harvey agreed.

Under Section 3100 of Penal Code section 5058, CDC wardens are required to establish prisoner handicraft programs. The court held that this statute is a mandatory obligation which leaves the CDC no discretion as to whether they will abide by it or not. The court rejected the CDC's argument that they have the authority to authorize the abolition of the required handicraft programs. The court notes that to do so, the CDC needs to comply with the methods outlined in the state Administrative Procedures Act (APA). "The requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act are binding on the Director of Corrections "

California state law also requires that prisoners at one custody level receive the same treatment, benefits and privileges as prisoners at the same custody level throughout the state. Thus, having a hobby program at other level 3 and 4 prisons but not at CCC Susanville is unlawful.

"Therefore, the court orders the respondents CDC and CCC to carry out the mandate of CCR section 3100 and to establish a handicraft program at CCC....instead of establishing such a program at CCC, the Director may amend or repeal section 3100. Of course, he has the right to do that. But, for so long as section 3100 remains in its present form, CCC is required to provide a handicraft program; and, in order to meet budget constraints, any necessary funds have to be diverted from some program where there is no regulatory or statutory mandate or they have to be obtained by reducing other mandated programs."

The court also ordered the CDC to provide storage space for Yakle's hobby supplies because the transfer was not for disciplinary reasons and it was no fault of his that CCC did not have a hobby program. In the event section 3100 is repealed or amended by the CDC they were ordered to provide Yakle with storage space for his hobby materials. This is an unpublished order which cannot be cited as precedent. However, it may be useful to California state prisoners faced with the same problem elsewhere in the CDC. See In the Matter of the Petition of Steve Yackle, Case No. CCW 921.

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Related legal case

In the Matter of the Petition of Steve Yakle