Thursday, December 17, 2015

White guards at rural California prison are racist and abusive, says state's inspector general

The mostly white guards at a rural prison in California taunt black and Hispanic inmates with racial slurs and give preferential treatment to white inmates, according to a report by state inspector general Robert A. Barton, Timothy Williams reports for The New York Times. Guards at High Desert State Prison, in Susanville (Best places map) also "use other prisoners’ possessions to reward inmates who assault each other . . . and routinely engage in unnecessary force."

The prison's staff is more than 75 percent white, while the inmates, most of them serving sentences for felonies, are more than three-quarters black or Hispanic, Williams writes. "The 3,482-inmate prison—which is at 149 percent of its capacity—has had six wardens or acting wardens during the past eight years. Prison officials, the report said, appear to be 'oblivious' to many of the prisons problems."

"The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which operates the facility, said in a statement Wednesday that it had already made changes, including hiring a new warden this month," Williams writes.

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