Fighting Sexual Abuse Leads to Reprisals in California
Several of us prisoners filed a grievance on sexual misconduct against us by a correctional officer. The investigators here did not take this complaint seriously or investigate thoroughly, and even told me maybe the officer was joking around. They then intimidated most to drop out of the complaint. Now there are only two of us who refuse to be intimidated and give up, but we have faced much reprisals. Both of us have been removed from our jobs and many officers here stop and search me almost every day. I have been discriminated against and called racial names by several officers.
I continue to file complaints on many staff here but it seems to do no good. When I go the wrong route and disrespect them back, I get written up and disciplined. There is much corruption at California Medical Facility and most prisoners are afraid to do anything because they do not want to lose their jobs and property, and have their cells searched and tossed up.
I complained all the way up the ladder and they all do nothing to rectify the situation. The supervisors think their officers can do no wrong.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Enclosed with this letter was a copy of the author's first, second and third level appeals regarding employee sexual misconduct:
"I've been working in kitchen for over 3 years. I have not had any major issues. Until CO Liggett took over as culinary supervisor. He continuously makes sexual remarks, like you going to suck me off, and he rubs. You can interview all inmates in kitchen/dining halls and I'm sure most will agree with these allegations."
"I believe the ISU and COs here are not taking this seriously. Myself and another inmate [X] have been retaliated against for filing this and other 602s [grievances]. We have had our work cards confiscated and are not allowed to work. I believe the right thing to do is to remove CO Liggett from his supervisor position."
The matter was referred to Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) for an investigation. The third level decision denied the appeal, but mentions the OIA inquiry which is still pending on the outcome of the investigation.
Finally, after the third level appeal decision, the author wrote a letter to the Warden requesting his intervention. The Warden responded "A review of your appeal record indicates no staff complaints have been submitted regarding your situation, and this matter should be handled through the appeals process."
This response appears to be a form letter, completely dismissing a very serious issue without any real investigation. We have seen copies of the appeals from the prisoner and the appeals decision from the prison, so this suggestion that the Warden's claim that no staff complaints have been submitted is just ridiculous. The Warden could not have missed this extensive paper trail if he had actually looked at the record.
This blatant disregard for sexual harassment and abuse of prisoners comes as no surprise in a society where sexual assault in prison is seen as a legitimate punishment and something to joke about. While in general when we talk about gender oppression and sexual harassment we are talking about men abusing wimmin, in prison the prisoners are put in a position of submission and powerlessness that leaves the majority, including the men, subject to gender oppression.