Skip to comments.Fired prison guard who was harassed by naked inmates wins court ruling
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 ...
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 wonder how the guards manage to deal with it at Gitmo.
Did the prisoners receive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts?
could someone explain to me why a woman is working at a male prison????
Maybe it was her?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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
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.
Females should not be guarding male prisoners.
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.
What we have here is a failure to communicate...
She's the guard. Why didn't she discipline them?
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.
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.
How about a taser, aiming for the crotch. That would change their minds in a hurry.
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.
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).
Might get the ACLU's panties in a wad.
I suspect that would work.
Common sense not to be found anywhaere.
WHAT’S A WOMAN WORKING AS A GUARD IN A MALE PRISON FOR?
What kind of people did she expect to find behind bars?
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.
Most that she can do is right a case on that Offender.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Political correctness and not improbably, affirmative action..
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.
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?
And when the battery packs wear out, send in the dainty little guard girl to change them!
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.
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.
An ex girlfriend of mine told me about being flashed by a stranger one time...her response: "That looks like a penis, only smaller."
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'.
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.
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."
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.
I was laughing because of the double-entendre haha
The sad thing is I hadn’t even noticed the double-entendre when I posted...
How do you stop an inmate from doing what they did?