By Don Thompson
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California parole agent was accused of soliciting one of his parolees to kill another. Numerous corrections department employees allegedly had sex with inmates, including juveniles.
And a prison guard was suspected of carousing regularly with prisoners, even joining them as they drank a form of booze the inmates manufactured themselves.
The incidents are among 278 cases of alleged employee misconduct detailed in the latest report by the independent inspector general of the state corrections department.
The abuses highlighted in the reports produced every six months raise questions about how effectively the state prison system hires and polices its sworn peace officers.
Neither the corrections department nor the union representing prisons guards immediately commented Wednesday on the most recent report, which detailed cases that were closed during the second half of 2012.
In his previous report in October, the inspector general criticized the corrections department's Southern California internal affairs office for doing a particularly poor job of investigating and prosecuting such complaints.
That region still has the worst record, with nearly a third of allegations handled improperly.
However, many of the allegations of employee abuse predate the department's most recent promises to make changes. Inspector General Robert Barton says in the latest report that he is optimistic the record will improve.
Details such as where the incidents occurred or what happened to the employees involved are scarce because the inspector general's role is to evaluate whether the department property investigated the reported malfeasance.
The inspector general's office selected the most egregious cases from among 1,074 incidents investigated by the internal affairs office of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
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In one case, a prison guard allegedly stripped off his duty weapons to duke it out with an inmate, then encouraged other guards to cover up the fight.