California state Senate leaders released results of a seven-month investigation into allegations of inmate abuse at a state prison called High Desert, says the Sacramento Bee. The probe, launched in response to a Bee investigation, found that state officials failed to investigate and address claims of staff misconduct from multiple sources, including corrections department researchers.
The agencies’ response to allegations of brutality by guards at the experimental “behavior modification unit” from 2005 through 2007 was “inadequate, ad hoc, and displayed the absence of a uniform and reliable system of response, referral and follow-through,” wrote Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Public Safety Committee Chairman Mark Leno. Behavior modification units housed inmates who broke rules, and were meant to teach anger management and other life skills. Most such units have been closed due to budget cuts. The Bee found evidence that High Desert guards tried to provoke attacks between inmates, spread human excrement on cell doors, and mistreated inmates who peacefully resisted staff misconduct.