California Senate probe rips prison watchdogs

By Charles Piller
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010

California Senate leaders have released the results of a seven-month investigation into allegations of prisoner abuse at High Desert State Prison. Their probe, launched in response to a Bee investigation in April, found that officials from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and from the Office of the Inspector General failed to investigate and address claims of staff misconduct from multiple sources, including corrections department researchers.

The agencies’ response to allegations of brutality by guards at the experimental “behavior modification unit” from 2005 through 2007 was “inadequate, ad hoc, and displayed the absence of a uniform and reliable system of response, referral and follow-through,” wrote Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Senate Public Safety Committee Chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

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