A California whistleblower wrote a report accusing his employer, the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR), of lying to the court in a lawsuit over mental health care for inmates in California prisons, reports the Sacramento Bee. The whistleblower accused CDCR of submitting fraudulent healthcare data to the court, just as both sides were nearing a final settlement about the level of psychiatric care to be provided to California inmates, reports SacBee. After the whistleblower’s report came to light, the court ordered the Department of Corrections not to retaliate against the whistleblower, says SacBee.
The Associated Press reports that the whistleblower claims one woman received mental health care that was so substandard that she plucked out her own eye, and ate it. The AP summarizes the report’s allegations that:
The [corrections] department reported that an average 95 percent of patients were seen on schedule. But the true percentage is lower than 46 percent…”
The California whistleblower’s report also says that CDCR overstated how many mental health patients were seen by counting as a psychiatric visit: “brief encounters with patients in the prison yard surrounded by other inmates, three-minute, non-confidential cell side visits.” The report says that some psychiatric visits were done under poor conditions, whereby a prison employee “holds a laptop in front of a cell door for a teleconference, forcing the inmate and psychiatrist to shout back and forth,” reports AP.
When the court learned of the whistleblower’s report regarding fraudulent data provided by prison officials, it ordered a former U.S. attorney to investigate the allegations — over the stringent objections of state officials, reports SacBee.
The report underscores the power that California whistleblowers have if they can provide original information to a court of law.