California investigators are calling for immediate action at a Northern California prison with an “entrenched culture” of racism and violence, where guards allegedly have set inmates up for attack, reports the Los Angeles Times. In a special report released yesterday, the independent Office of Inspector General said that abuse and cover-ups at the High Desert State Prison in Susanville were so severe, and have been for so long, that officials should consider requiring some of the guards to wear body cameras and GPS devices in order to “curtail misconduct.”
A six-month investigation at the facility was ordered after complaints of excessive force by guards and reports that sex offenders were being housed alongside those likely to assault them. Sen. Loni Hancock, who heads a state Senate subcommittee on public safety and corrections, said the findings were “deeply disturbing and reveal broken systems.” California Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard said he welcomed the report and would continue implementing changes at the prison. “We do not tolerate staff misconduct of any kind and will take appropriate action to hold all employees accountable,” Beard said. The High Desert prison, in a remote corner of northeast California, houses nearly 3,500 high- and medium-security inmates although it was designed for 2,324; two buildings are set aside for those requiring protective custody.