Officers use Funds for Fiesta's not Mental Health Programs
[The following complaint was served to the Department of Justice.] RE: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCr) and Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF) Systemic Scheme of Fraud to Misappropriate Federal Funds
I am requesting an investigative audit of all Federal Funds received by CDCR specifically for mental health programs, services, and activities here at RJDCF because it is clear that those funds are not being used for intended purposes. As a participant in CDCR’s Mental Health Services Delivery System (MHSDS) at the Enhanced Out Patient (EOP) level of care under the Coleman v. Newsom, 2:90-cv-00520-KJM-DB(E.D.Cal) injunction, MHSDS EOP participants are required to receive 10 hours a week of ‘structured therapy’, and receive federal funds to provide such to prisoner participants.
Here at RJDCF EOP there are no specialty, or core, therapy groups which treat or target the diagnosis and symptoms of MHSDS EOP participants because mental health care providers continue to tell us that they’re short of staff and resources.
To create the illusion of providing the 10 hours a week of required ‘structural therapy’ as so CDCR may continue to receive federal funds for RJDCF EOP program, prisoners regular exercise yard time is being documented as recreational therapy,(or R.T. yard), where recreational therapist’s (R.T.’s) assigned to supervise R.T. yards are being explicitly instructed by CDCR Mental Health Program overseers and supervisors to embellish R.T. yard notes to give any reader the impression that the R.T. yard activity itself was/is therapeutic, when fact is, aside from walking around to record which MHSDS EOP prisoners attend regular exercise yards, the R.T.’s have no contact with any of us, yet a significant amount of such fraudulent hours are and have been used to report compliance.
There are many MHSDS EOP participants who report receiving a regular schedule to attend particular mental health therapy groups which does not even exist, as there is no facilitator to provide treatment.
Then, the gist of the described systemic scheme involves CDCR’s use of a ruse to misappropriate federal funds intended for MHSDS EOP programs, services, and activities, thereby using such funds to pay the salaries of its subordinates who directly supervise the EOP, subordinates who are correctional officers (C.O.s) providing security.
With the aid of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), CDCR and RJDCF has manufactured a need for more C.O.s in the MHSDS EOP Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU), and divert federal funds intended for mental health programs, services, and activities, to custody, while these same custody C.O.s then convert the PSU into a ‘lounge area’ where surveillance cameras throughout the PSU, initiated by the Armstrong v. Newsom, no. 94-cv 02307-CW, injunction, regularly record C.O.s blatant inefficiency, hosting fiesta’s and other celebratory gatherings, and constant use of big screen televisions intended for MHSDS EOP groups, to watch sporting events and other shows. All this occurs in the PSU while on duty in direct violation of well established CDCR policy at California Code of Regulations, CCR. Title 15, sections 3394, and 3395.
With this described systemic scheme, C.O.s may continue to exploit the MHSDS EOP, profit from such, while CDCR continues to orchestrate the diminishing of mental health programs, services, and activities, blaming the failure on any and everything else except the truth, which is, despite being member of a protected class requiring mental health services and treatment, to CDCR and it’s employees we are only a financial asset. A prisoner’s mental health challenges are nothing more than a bargaining chip to use to extort more money from the federal government, to fund and fuel an already debauch state system.
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MIM(Prisons) adds: Over 1.1 million people have died from the COVID-19 pandemic in the United $tates (more than from drug overdoses). This hit hardest among the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions, and since the advent of vaccines, the unvaccinated. Strong resistance to vaccines among law enforcement has led to disproportionate deaths. Meanwhile many who could retired early. Like many industries, the state has struggled to replace the prison staff it has lost due to the pandemic.
This situation has allowed for extra leverage, from the already powerful CCPOA in California, meaning many are doing their jobs even less than before. People are sitting in their cells, people aren’t receiving care, people are eating sack lunches, and people aren’t getting access to grievances. And like so many capitalists have done during the last few years, the CDCR has cashed in on state funds that they do not deserve.
These are signs of a struggling system. The criminal injustice system is functioning worse and with less credibility than it has in decades. Meanwhile, greedy kleptocrats are stealing from the state, weakening it further. We must study these cracks in the system and find ways to operate that push the agenda of the oppressed through independent institutions.