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February 01, 2004

CA Prison Watchdog: "Waste"?

Last week, I noted the negotiations by Arnie with the prison guard union and the possible deal to cutback on investigations of prisoner abuse.

It looks like Arnie is already implementing the deal:

The state's independent prison watchdog agency, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to eliminate because it's a ``waste,'' has uncovered tens of millions in potential savings and exposed dangerous conditions in the state's prisons...
The watchdog agency has found that "shortcomings in the corrections internal-affairs unit undermined investigations of serious staff misconduct" but:
Schwarzenegger wants to put the office, which now reports to the governor, under the direct supervision of the corrections agency it is supposed to keep tabs on. The office became independent in 1998 in the wake of a prison scandal so it could take on a more aggressive watchdog role.
All of this is being proposed despite recent evidence of serious abuse of prisoners, including juveniles:
In the past two weeks, a federal court monitor declared the Department of Corrections had ``lost control'' of its ability to discipline guards for abusing inmates, and lawmakers held hearings on an inspector general's report that raised questions about a possible cover-up after a 2002 riot at Folsom State Prison. A week ago, court-appointed experts reported that juveniles are regularly locked in cages, over-medicated and denied essential psychiatric treatment.
This proposal by Arnie looks to be not only an undermining of basic prisoners rights but ultimately costly to taxpayers, given all the other fraud that the watchdog agency has exposed. Just disgusting all around.

Posted by Nathan at February 1, 2004 07:20 PM