Prison guard set to appeal his firing

first_img State officials had told the U.S. Supreme Court during a hearing on a racial discrimination lawsuit that prisoners were segregated by race only temporarily, when they entered the prison system. Hughes filed a complaint in May alleging that a display on the back of then-Warden Charles Harrison’s office door consisted of a toy rat taped to a military-type bull’s-eye target, with a cutout picture of a handgun pointing at the rat. In a memo to the state Corrections Department chief, Hughes said “rat” is the label attached to prison employees who report misconduct by other employees. Hughes interpreted the target-and-rat display as a symbol of support for prison employees keeping a “code of silence” about wrongdoing. Hughes said he was placed on administrative time off Nov. 14 and was notified by fax Wednesday that he was terminated. Harrison was demoted to associate warden after Hughes filed another complaint about a Lancaster prison performance by television comedians who made sexual, racial and religious references. State lawmakers said the May 4 comedy show led to Harrison’s demotion, although state corrections officials said they are forbidden by law from discussing personnel matters. The comedy show is the subject of a Dec. 7 hearing before a state legislative committee. A Nov. 17 letter to Hughes from the department’s Office of Civil Rights said an investigation is under way on the comedy show and will involve a probe of whether similar shows are held at other prisons. Charles F. Bostwick, (661) 267-5742 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – A state prison union official who leads an organization that sues inmates for assaulting correctional officers has been fired on charges that he delayed medical care to an inmate who died. Lt. Charles Hughes, who also figured in the demotion disclosed Monday of the California State Prison-Los Angeles County warden, confirmed the termination and said he will appeal it to the State Personnel Board. “It’s pure retaliation based on my whistle-blowing complaints,” Hughes said. Hughes is a 12-year department veteran who is president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association chapter at the Lancaster prison and founded the California Staff Assault Task Force, whose members have won monetary judgments against inmates who assaulted them. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials did not respond to requests for comment, but Hughes said his termination involved the September 2004 death of Eddie Arraiga, whose cellmate is awaiting trial on charges that he fatally strangled him with a bedsheet. Hughes was accused of preventing prison medical staffers from taking Arraiga to the prison treatment area after he was found unresponsive in his cell, according to an internal memo. The memo said the lieutenant exceeded his authority and violated prison policy in declaring the inmate dead. The memo said Hughes told a medical staffer who came to the cell, “Chill out, he is already dead.” Hughes said the memo was written by a medical staffer whom he ordered out of the cell after she ducked under crime-scene tape. Two medical staffers were already performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Arraiga when the third arrived, he said. He said a postmortem examination indicated the CPR was done when the inmate was already dead. Hughes said he believes he was targeted because he filed complaints and embarrassed corrections officials in February by testifying before a state Senate committee that prison inmates are routinely segregated by race. last_img read more