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Fired prison guard who was harassed by naked inmates wins court ruling
San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 4/15/8 | Bob Egelko

Posted on 04/15/2008 10:54:57 AM PDT by SmithL

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court has upheld $600,000 in damages to a state prison guard who said she was fired after complaining that she was being harassed by naked male inmates.

The complaints by Deanna Freitag led to an investigation by the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's inspector general, who found in 2000 that maximum-security inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison had regularly subjected female guards to "lewd exhibitionism and exhibitionist masturbation" and that the warden and other officials were doing little to stop it.

Freitag, who had worked at the prison in Del Norte County since 1996, was fired by Pelican Bay officials shortly before those findings were issued. Her bosses accused her of fabricating incidents in the reports she had been filing since September 1998.

In her lawsuit, Freitag said officials brushed off her complaints and disciplined the prisoners mildly, if at all.

A federal court jury in San Francisco awarded Freitag $500,000 for lost wages and $100,000 for emotional distress in a March 2003 verdict against the department, the warden and other prison officials.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2006 that the corrections department had failed to protect Freitag from sexual harassment. But the court returned her case to the trial judge to consider the effect of a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limited government employees' protection from retaliation for criticizing workplace conditions.

In a 2-1 ruling Friday, the appeals court upheld Freitag's damage award, agreeing with U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson

(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; US: California
KEYWORDS: prisonguard
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Your tax dollars at work.
1 posted on 04/15/2008 10:54:58 AM PDT by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Did this woman think that she was getting hired to take care of a bunch of schoolboys? Sheesh! What did she expect to see in a male prison?


2 posted on 04/15/2008 10:57:53 AM PDT by dr.zaeus
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To: SmithL

I wonder how the guards manage to deal with it at Gitmo.


3 posted on 04/15/2008 10:58:10 AM PDT by WOBBLY BOB (Conservatives are to McCain what Charlie Brown is to Lucy.)
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To: SmithL
Your tax dollars at work.

Did the prisoners receive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts?

4 posted on 04/15/2008 11:00:50 AM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: SmithL

could someone explain to me why a woman is working at a male prison????


5 posted on 04/15/2008 11:03:48 AM PDT by joe fonebone (The Second Amendment is the Contitutions reset button)
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To: joe fonebone

Maybe it was her?

6 posted on 04/15/2008 11:05:54 AM PDT by crusty old prospector
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To: dr.zaeus
Did this woman think that she was getting hired to take care of a bunch of schoolboys? Sheesh! What did she expect to see in a male prison?

LOL, I said something similar and got bashed by a few butch types some time back. Women have no business in a male prison, Like men have no business in a female prison.

7 posted on 04/15/2008 11:06:14 AM PDT by org.whodat (What's the difference between a Democrat and a republican????)
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To: Grizzled Bear

National endowment... LOL

Actually, so what these guys are inmates? Doesn’t mean they should be allowed to act like animals. The first step to getting out ought to be classes on how to be a gentleman, how to lead a normal life without committing crime and it damned sure ought to start right there in prison.

I’m glad the state has to pay something for that crap.


8 posted on 04/15/2008 11:06:37 AM PDT by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Please visit for latest on DPRK/Russia/China/et al.)
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To: SmithL

The prisoners are there to be punished. They should have been punished for their unacceptable behavior. They don’t get to act the way they want. I would suggest that cattle prods might work well.


9 posted on 04/15/2008 11:08:46 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: dr.zaeus
Did this woman think that she was getting hired to take care of a bunch of schoolboys? Sheesh! What did she expect to see in a male prison?

I think that she expected the warden to discipline prisoners engaging in this lewd behavior. It seems that disciplining inmates for lewd behavior is a reasonable expectation. I do not know the specifics of this case. Perhaps the warden did try disciplining or she had some role in encouraging the behavior. I do not know if the award is justified. Female guards should not subjected to lewd behavior as a matter of employment.

10 posted on 04/15/2008 11:09:43 AM PDT by businessprofessor
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To: joe fonebone

It’s not logical Captain.

At, perhaps, its most absurd; a male exhibitionist could be put into a prison — where he’ll henceforth have no privacy from female guards.


11 posted on 04/15/2008 11:12:26 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: SmithL
Its inexcusable California did nothing to stop the harassment. That was allowed in violation of the law, regulations and department policy. The verdict shows what Corrections Department bosses who don't get it can expect to face when they don't do their job.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

12 posted on 04/15/2008 11:12:27 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Rick.Donaldson
that maximum-security inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison

Max at Pelican Bay is where all the other prisons in CA send the worst of the worst that can't be handled, women have no business working max there.

13 posted on 04/15/2008 11:13:12 AM PDT by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: businessprofessor

Females should not be guarding male prisoners.


14 posted on 04/15/2008 11:13:39 AM PDT by porter_knorr
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To: SmithL

I think she should have told the lewd little twits that if she was a guy with an organ that small, she’d keep it under wraps and wouldn’t flaunt it.


15 posted on 04/15/2008 11:14:05 AM PDT by Tamar1973 (Catch the Korean Wave, one Bae Yong Joon film at a time!)
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To: SmithL

What we have here is a failure to communicate...


16 posted on 04/15/2008 11:16:21 AM PDT by Portcall24
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To: crusty old prospector

scared straight!!!!!!!!!!!


17 posted on 04/15/2008 11:17:42 AM PDT by joe fonebone (The Second Amendment is the Contitutions reset button)
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To: businessprofessor
It seems that disciplining inmates for lewd behavior is a reasonable expectation.

She's the guard. Why didn't she discipline them?

18 posted on 04/15/2008 11:18:29 AM PDT by donna ("Women are not little men, and men are not big women.")
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To: dr.zaeus
I think she won her case because the prisoners were not punished for their actions.

The prison can't prevent such actions by prisoners, but when the prisoner's do such things, the administrators of the prison do need to take appropriate actions rather than just ignore the incidents.

19 posted on 04/15/2008 11:23:44 AM PDT by untrained skeptic
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To: jazusamo

Well, we can all say what we like about women working in prisons, or being in combat. Personally, I’ve been in the Supermax here in Colorado and there are women working there as well....

So, you have your opinion, I have mine. Men, in prison need to start acting like human beings before they are let out.


20 posted on 04/15/2008 11:32:35 AM PDT by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Please visit for latest on DPRK/Russia/China/et al.)
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To: untrained skeptic

How about a taser, aiming for the crotch. That would change their minds in a hurry.


21 posted on 04/15/2008 11:32:50 AM PDT by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: donna

I’m only guessing here, but I would suspect that the guards can administer physical correction for certain behaviors, but this would require an administrative punishment, which would have to be administered by the Warden or other administrator. Guards can’t arbitrarily throw a prisoner in solitary or restrict their access to the yard, etc.


22 posted on 04/15/2008 11:33:33 AM PDT by Little Pig (Is it time for "Cowboys and Muslims" yet?)
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To: dr.zaeus
What did she expect to see in a male prison?

I agree with you. I have to wonder, however, if some of this comes from frustration at not being permitted to do anything about it herself, (i.e. zapping the guys' privates with a stun gun).

23 posted on 04/15/2008 11:34:28 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall cause you to vote against the Democrats.)
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To: RJS1950
Sounds appropriate to me.

Might get the ACLU's panties in a wad.

24 posted on 04/15/2008 11:35:15 AM PDT by untrained skeptic
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

I suspect that would work.
susie


25 posted on 04/15/2008 11:39:06 AM PDT by brytlea (amnesty--an act of clemency by an authority by which pardon is granted esp. to a group of individual)
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To: SmithL

Common sense not to be found anywhaere.


26 posted on 04/15/2008 11:39:28 AM PDT by fso301
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To: beeber
"I've been told that it smells like snowflakes."

27 posted on 04/15/2008 11:42:12 AM PDT by evets
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To: SmithL

WHAT’S A WOMAN WORKING AS A GUARD IN A MALE PRISON FOR?

What kind of people did she expect to find behind bars?


28 posted on 04/15/2008 11:42:59 AM PDT by Elpasser
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To: Rick.Donaldson

I suppose I would agree with you in a perfect world but this is the real world and women being in combat has absolutely nothing to do with this.

If you think these men in max are going to start acting like human beings you’re kidding yourself, they’re there in the first place because they don’t fit the mold of human beings.


29 posted on 04/15/2008 11:47:57 AM PDT by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: donna

Most that she can do is right a case on that Offender.


30 posted on 04/15/2008 11:54:52 AM PDT by ktw (kakatte koi)
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To: crusty old prospector

If the inmates are accused of “lewd exhibitionism” and “exhibitionist masturbation” to that, then they need some help prison can’t give! Either that or it’s a maximum security prison for the blind!


31 posted on 04/15/2008 12:06:42 PM PDT by Hatheos
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To: SmithL

Is it just me, or does anybody else think it might be a good idea to have male guards only at male prisons and female guards only at female prisons? Having people guard the opposite sex is absolutely begging for something bad to happen.


32 posted on 04/15/2008 12:14:46 PM PDT by lesser_satan (Vote McCain - The Choice who Sucks Less!)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
They should have been punished for their unacceptable behavior. They don’t get to act the way they want. I would suggest that cattle prods might work well.

Well then Dr. send in the 5'8" 130 pound female guards to do it!

That ought to go over well with some 6'4" 290 pound lumberhead with nothing to lose.

33 posted on 04/15/2008 12:23:54 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: dr.zaeus

Obviously, this female got into the wrong line of work and is now looking cash out and exit. It would have been better of all if she opted to sell jewelry at Nordstroms, rather than work in the joint with vicious brutal murders that are more than capable of ringing her bell with little effort.


34 posted on 04/15/2008 12:32:10 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: jazusamo

Well, like you said... in a perfect world.

Point is, while most of the people in there, are there for life... some aren’t.

I’ve worked in a prison. Yes, they CAN and DO act like human beings... and they need to be made to do so. Period.


35 posted on 04/15/2008 12:32:56 PM PDT by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Please visit for latest on DPRK/Russia/China/et al.)
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To: dragnet2

Shock belts for them all! And give the dainty little guard girl the button!
Butt yeah! Women guarding men, and men guarding women is stoopid!


36 posted on 04/15/2008 12:37:02 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: joe fonebone

Political correctness and not improbably, affirmative action..


37 posted on 04/15/2008 1:04:00 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: dr.zaeus

I agree. She couldn’t have possibly thought that something like this wouldn’t happen. And it would have gotten worse when the cons saw that it bothered her.


38 posted on 04/15/2008 1:04:58 PM PDT by quikdrw (Life is tough....it's even tougher if you are stupid.)
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To: SmithL

Even if we ignore the fact that it is asinine to have a female guard in a male maximum security prison, and if we ignore the fact that anyone who can’t handle being harassed by prisoners should not be a prison guard, my main question is: why are the taxpayers the ones who are punished for the bad behavior of prisoners?


39 posted on 04/15/2008 1:07:59 PM PDT by fr_freak (So foul a sky clears not without a storm.)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
Shock belts for them all! And give the dainty little guard girl the button!

And when the battery packs wear out, send in the dainty little guard girl to change them!

40 posted on 04/15/2008 1:13:52 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: Rick.Donaldson

Most of the scumbags at this prison will never be let out, hence, there is no motive for civility. However, this crap should never be tolerated.


41 posted on 04/15/2008 2:12:37 PM PDT by ohioman
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To: Rick.Donaldson
Doesn’t mean they should be allowed to act like animals. The first step to getting out ought to be classes on how to be a gentleman, how to lead a normal life without committing crime and it damned sure ought to start right there in prison.

You forgot the sarcasm tag.

You are familiar with Pelican Bay aren't you?

The worst of the worst.

I wasn't until I saw a TV program on the place several months ago.
Whoa!! The name sounds serene, it's hell.

42 posted on 04/15/2008 2:26:16 PM PDT by Vinnie (You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Jihads You)
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To: Tamar1973
"I think she should have told the lewd little twits that if she was a guy with an organ that small, she’d keep it under wraps and wouldn’t flaunt it.

An ex girlfriend of mine told me about being flashed by a stranger one time...her response: "That looks like a penis, only smaller."

43 posted on 04/15/2008 2:29:36 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: donna
Why didn't she discipline them?

Threaten them w/ solitary? Almost all cells at Pelican Bay are.

Only thing I can think of is point and laugh or hit it w/ a night stick, and I'm sure that's a no-no.

Amazing, women want 'just the same', until something like this happens. Then suddenly it's, 'but I'm a woman'.

44 posted on 04/15/2008 2:31:55 PM PDT by Vinnie (You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Jihads You)
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To: joe fonebone
"could someone explain to me why a woman is working at a male prison????"

Yep, it's called being a divorced mother, trying to make enough money to raise your two kids. I worked over 23 years in uniform in all-male facilities in New York State. The money was good, a lot better than what I was making working as a Food Stamp Examiner (in 1980) for the County. I retired as a Sergeant in 2003.

Since there are less female facilities the option of only working with female inmates is limited. And, don't forget, male officers work at female prisons, and from what I've heard, the females are even worse.

As a rookie in a maximum security facility, I had some experiences with convicts who deliberately exposed themselves or masterbated when I'd walk down the gallery to take the count. If the guy was in his cell, I ignored him. If he decided to expose himself while he was in the yard or some other place in the prison, I'd write his ass up. It didn't happen very often. And of course, as I got more time on the job, and eventually became a Sergeant, it never happened.

Every female officer handled the situation differently. Some overreacted and made it worse on themselves. It's possible that the female officer in this lawsuit handled the incidents inappropriately, or even fabricated many of them. It's also possible that the facility administration didn't discipline the inmates who violated the rules and regulations. This didn't appear to be a class-action suit, which tells me that none of the other female officers joined her in her suit. Is that because none of them experienced the same problem? But then, did any of them testify on her behalf during the original trial? You'd think that if any were taking the witness stand to uphold her complaints, that they'd be a part of the lawsuit themselves.

My question is where was the Union in all of this? If the females, or this female had a problem getting the facility administration to properly discipline the inmates for alleged offences, how come the Union wasn't involved? The article doesn't mention if the female officer exhausted her Union's grievance process. I'm assuming, this being in California, that she did belong to a Union.

There's a lot of unanswered questions in this case. Personally, I don't think she should have gotten any money.

45 posted on 04/15/2008 4:56:52 PM PDT by mass55th (“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway” ~~ John Wayne)
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To: Rick.Donaldson
National endowment... LOL

Don't laugh. It's a real government program. It's how your tax dollars were used to bring you a photograph of a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine and a painting of Mary (of the Bible) smeared with feces.

The ACLU would call the behavior of the inmates "performance art."

46 posted on 04/15/2008 4:59:02 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: donna
"She's the guard. Why didn't she discipline them? "

By law she can't. She can only report the misbehavior in a report. There are guidelines for all of this. In New York State, the reports are reviewed by a Lieutenant before the inmate is served and a hearing is held. All Tier 2 and Tier 3 hearings had to be recorded. Tier I hearings were lesser infractions, and Sergeants (which I was) held the hearings. Your options for discipline in Tier I hearings was limited. We used to get pi$$ed when the Hearing Lieutenant tossed out tickets (misbehavior reports) we'd written on convicts, in return for them giving him info. They'd also dismiss tickets to keep the number of misbehavior reports down. It didn't look good for the administrators in Albany if the officers were writing too many tickets.

47 posted on 04/15/2008 5:10:13 PM PDT by mass55th (“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway” ~~ John Wayne)
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To: Grizzled Bear

I was laughing because of the double-entendre haha


48 posted on 04/15/2008 6:02:36 PM PDT by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Please visit for latest on DPRK/Russia/China/et al.)
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To: Rick.Donaldson

The sad thing is I hadn’t even noticed the double-entendre when I posted...

:-/


49 posted on 04/15/2008 6:05:52 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: mass55th

How do you stop an inmate from doing what they did?


50 posted on 04/15/2008 9:39:21 PM PDT by donna ("Women are not little men, and men are not big women.")
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