A California parole agent was accused of soliciting one of his parolees
to kill another. Numerous corrections department employees allegedly had
sex with inmates, including juveniles.
And a prison guard was suspected of carousing regularly with prisoners,
even joining them as they drank a form of booze the inmates manufactured
The incidents are among 278 cases of alleged employee misconduct
detailed in the latest report by the independent inspector general of
the state corrections department.
The abuses highlighted in the reports produced every six months raise
questions about how effectively the state prison system hires and
polices its sworn peace officers.
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has promised to better follow existing policies and procedures.
But a top prison official said no dramatic policy or training changes are planned as a result of the reports.
“We’re pretty comfortable or satisfied with the level of screening or
prevention that we do already in the department. We have a pretty high
bar as it is,” said Martin Hoshino, acting undersecretary for
The department has improved since the days when officers were found to
have encouraged inmates to engage in what were known as “gladiator
fights” or developed a code of silence to protect officers who broke the
rules, he said.
“Do we have examples of misconduct? Sure, but I think that’s true for any large organization,” Hoshino said.
The union representing prisons guards did not respond to a request for
comment Wednesday on the report, which details cases that were closed
during the second half of 2012.
In his previous report in October, the inspector general criticized the
corrections department’s Southern California internal affairs office for
doing a particularly poor job of investigating and prosecuting such
That region still has the worst record, with nearly a third of allegations handled improperly.
However, many of the allegations of employee abuse predate the
department’s most recent promises about following its existing rules.
Inspector General Robert Barton says in the latest report that he is optimistic the record will improve.
Details such as where the incidents occurred or what happened to the
employees involved are scarce because the inspector general’s role is to
evaluate whether the department property investigated the reported
The inspector general’s office selected the most egregious cases from
among 1,074 incidents investigated by the department’s internal affairs
In one case, a prison guard allegedly stripped off his duty weapons to
duke it out with an inmate, then encouraged other guards to cover up the
Among the allegations of improper sexual relations was a case involving a
year-long series of complaints that a high-ranking official at a
juvenile facility repeatedly fondled two wards, had sexual skin-to-skin
contact with another ward, and watched wards engaging in sexual acts.
The department outlined similar behavior in its report last fall,
including the case of one prison employee accused of bearing an inmate’s
child and another who purportedly sent nude photos of herself to an
inmate’s contraband cellphone.
Overall, nearly half the allegations in the most recent report involved
neglect of duty or dishonesty, while 8 percent alleged unreasonable use
Sexual misconduct was alleged in 2 percent of the reports, 9 percent
involved overfamiliarity with inmates, and 5 percent detailed
trafficking of contraband — often cellphones that have become a major
security risk behind bars.
By DON THOMPSON
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