Guards who witness misconduct in California prisons rarely report it for fear of isolation by fellow officers and reprisals from superiors, current and former corrections department employees told a state Senate hearing yesterday. The Los Angeles Times says the testimony focused on a riot at Folsom State Prison that a watchdog agency said could have been prevented and was the subject of a cover-up by those investigating it.
The 2002 riot between rival gangs on the exercise yard lasted 90 seconds, left 24 inmates injured and one prison guard permanently disabled. It
led to the recent firing of Folsom Warden Diana Butler. Yesterday the corrections department ordered a staff shake-up at Folsom. One witness, an associate warden at Folsom, requested protection from the California Highway Patrol because of concerns about retaliation.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s secretary of youth and adult corrections, Roderick Q. Hickman, said at the hearing that he was “appalled” by a recent report to a judge by a “special master” investigating prison problems. Hickman pledged to “restore credibility and confidence” to the penal system and “create an environment where employees feel they can and should report misconduct.”