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Report Slams Guards At Rural California Prison

CDCR photo

High Desert State Prison in Susanville, Calif.

CDCR photo

An isolated state prison in northeast California is coming under harsh criticism from a newly-released report that accuses its guards of racism and inappropriate use of force.

The report comes from the Office of the Inspector General, the state agency charged with overseeing California's correctional system. It says guards at High Desert State Prison have created a "culture of racism," engage in an alarming use of force against inmates, and have a code of silence encouraged by the union that represents most corrections officers. It calls for management and other changes at the prison.

Inspector General Robert Barton says the investigation was hindered by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which advised members not to cooperate and sent a disparaging letter to lawmakers.

Democrats in the California Senate asked for the report. They call the findings deeply troubling and say they'll redouble efforts to work with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration to address the problems.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.