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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Report: California prison investigations slipping

APA state report found that California prison employees are not being as thoroughly investigated over allegations of wrongdoing since a federal judge stopped supervising prison discipline in 2011.

The report released Tuesday by the state inspector general also said officials with the California Department of Corrections were taking too long to report problems and complete investigations.

For instance, it took two years before investigators recommended charges against a psychiatric technician accused of having sex with an inmate and smuggling mobile phones, tobacco and narcotics into the prison in exchange for money.

The department also missed deadlines while investigating three corrections officers and a sergeant in connection with the beating of an inmate by other prisoners in retaliation for writing a complaint against a guard. The report does not say if charges were filed.

Overall, less than two-thirds of investigations met standards during the first half of this year, down from 74 percent in 2011. Proper handling of disciplinary cases slipped to 69 percent, down from 82 percent two years ago.

The report said the decline "signals some disturbing trends." It came as Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to persuade federal judges that California prisons have improved so much that they no longer need court oversight.

It often takes longer than the inspector general would like for officials to assemble evidence needed to submit a formal complaint of employee wrongdoing, corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said. continue reading...

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