There is a perception that prison rapists are black and victims white, but many who have observed it say this is an oversimplification. However, most California prison confrontations--whether over gambling, drugs, sex or debts--do end up being played out along racial lines. Race is the prison fault line. Often, whites fit the prey profile more than blacks or Latinos because they commonly lack street smarts, and a higher proportion are in for
nonviolent drug or white-collar crimes. "Race is a factor to the extent that whatever race is predominant, they tend to victimize the minority," Wright says. "It comes down to the pool of prey versus the pool of predators, and whites aren't organized to protect each other and can be more easily picked off one by one."