The Bakersfield Californian
We’d all like to think our state prisons are run by mature, competent, level-headed people. But a federal lawsuit filed earlier this month gives a glimpse of a world in which guards and administrators seem more like characters out of the movie “Mean Girls” than law enforcement professionals.
Beyond the petty backbiting, allegations in the suit also contend that the notorious “code of silence” still has a stranglehold on daily prison activities while administrators remain pathetically ineffective.
The lawsuit was filed by former guard Adam Faz against North Kern State Prison and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
It contends prison administrators turned a blind eye as
Faz was severely harassed by fellow guard David Singleton, among others, for more than two years in retaliation for reporting an inmate rape that allegedly happened on Singleton’s watch.
Of course, it’s hard to know what’s true in these kinds of situations. Maybe Singleton did nothing. Maybe Faz is exaggerating. Maybe not.
One thing is clear. In early December 2007, Faz was so stressed out that he had to leave work and was sent to the state’s worker’s compensation doctor. He was diagnosed as having “situational anxiety of occupational origin,” according to paperwork from Central Valley Occupational Medical Group.
Despite that, Faz was sent back to work the very next day.
I don’t care if Faz was the worst employee in the history of employees (he wasn’t by the way, according to his exemplary annual reviews).
In fact, I don’t even care if Faz was faking. I do not want someone with that diagnosis walking around armed in a dangerous environment on my dime.
That’s just asking for trouble.
If nothing else, that one incident in this whole ugly mess ought be a red flag for someone in Sacramento that all is not right at North Kern.
But back to where it all started.
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