Ca. Youth Prison Failing Badly, Audit Reports


The prison housing some of California’s most difficult young felons is a dangerous place that fails to provide the education, counseling, and other help inmates need to straighten out their lives, the state Office of the Inspector General reported, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times says that the new audit “provides a unique window on a single prison and underscores the breadth of problems – from faulty fences to negligent care – faced by the state.”

Inspector General Matthew Cate found that staff members at the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton were either ill-trained or too consumed with security tasks to counsel youths as required by law. Inmates on medication for mental disorders are not consistently monitored and prison high school classes are canceled more than a third of the time, mostly because teachers don’t show up. Cate criticized prison managers for not following suicide prevention protocols, noting that two teenagers killed themselves in a state lockup last year. He said the prison was “riddled” with security and design defects. Fences that separate exercise yards for rival gang members are inadequate, cell doors pop open unexpectedly when electrical motors overheat, and surveillance cameras often fail. Other states have shown that with the right approach, young convicts “can change their behavior,” Cate said. “With recidivism rates at 70 percent, the Youth Authority owes it to the public to do a better job.”


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