California prison officials have been strongly criticized for their internal investigations and disciplinary actions against correctional officers.
The Office of the Inspector General’s report gave the California prison system an overall “poor” rating when conducting internal investigations and issuing adequate employee disciplinary actions in the first six months of 2022.
The report exposed flaws in the investigative process of alleged state prison employee misconduct. Nevertheless, the report concluded that accusations were “usually taken seriously and investigated properly in the first half of this year,” the Sacramento Bee reported Oct. 1.
The Inspector General has the specific responsibility to monitor discipline of California prisons and has been very critical of the prison system’s method of conducting internal investigations and meting out discipline to prison staff, according to the office’s 35th semiannual report.
For the first half of this year, the office reviewed 147 cases and issued “satisfactory” ratings in 99 cases, “poor” in 47 cases, with one case receiving a “superior” rating.
Major issues of concern were timeliness, penalties that were too lenient, and not following OIG recommendations for termination.
In one report, an unidentified correctional officer allegedly assaulted his spouse with a knife, threatened her with a firearm, and then bit his own son.
A warden rejected the OIG’s recommendation of termination and instead reduced the officer’s pay by 10% for two years.
Corrections department Spokesperson Dana Simas said in an email that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation requires the highest standard of conduct from its employees and prioritizes thoroughness in its investigations of wrongdoing.
“And while we understand the OIG’s concern on timeliness, the reality is that every case is different and should be treated by its individual factors,” Simas stated.
She also reported that new procedures aimed at improving investigations of alleged staff misconduct had begun in early 2022.