Critics Of Geoghan Inquiry Cite Prison Consultant

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http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2003/09/03/bias_concerns_are_raised_in_geoghan_probe/

A corrections consultant serving on a three-member Massachusetts panel investigating the death of ex-priest John J. Geoghan wrote a report that was harshly criticized last year by a federal judge as “biased” and “misleading,” the Boston Globe says. In a ruling excluding reports prepared by consultant George Camp in a case brought by an inmate, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald criticized a survey Camp conducted as “biased,” and found that “not only are Camp’s conclusions baseless, the graphs and charts he created . . . are misleading and are thoroughly unhelpful.” Camp, a longtime consultant to corrections officials in many states, did not return calls seeking comment.

Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services said that panel appointed by Governor Mitt Romney that includes Camp is unacceptable, and called for “a genuinely independent and credible panel that the public can confidently assume will conduct a thorough investigation.”

Camp’s report was offered as evidence to defend the New York Department of Correctional Services in a lawsuit filed by an inmate who challenged a ban of literature on a religious group known as the Nation of Gods and Earths, or the Five-Percenters, the Globe reports. New York prison administrators contended that the group was a dangerous “gang,” and that recognition of it as legitimate was a threat to prison security.

Camp’s report was submitted to back up the prison administrator’s position by suggesting that fewer incidents of disruption occurred following the ban. His report analyzed thousands of incident reports provided by New York prison administrators and included a survey of the administrators. The judge said the survey was “subjective and biased, and results therefore do not bear the indicia of trustworthiness.”

The Romney administration, in investigating Geoghan’s Aug. 23 death in a protective custody unit, said Camp’s inclusion on the three-member investigative panel gave an “independent” voice to the group. Prisoners’ advocates and the prison guards’ union have criticized the composition of the panel, calling it an in-house investigation. Besides Camp, the panel includes a state police major and the head of investigations for the Department of Correction.

Link: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2003/09/03/bias_concerns_are_raised_in_geoghan_probe/

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