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California Youth Prison Superintendent

California Youth Prison Superintendent Removed For Using Unreasonable Force

The Superintendent of a California youth prison was permanently removed from his position for using unreasonable force against a ward, and then not reporting it.

Steve Kruse, Superintendent at the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton, was placed on administrative leave shortly after the May 27, 2005 incident and was terminated from the position effective August 10, 2005. In an August 4, 2005 report, the State Inspector General (IG) determined that Kruse had grabbed a handcuffed ward's hair and jaw as he was being escorted to another unit following a fight involving 44 youths at the prison. Kruse said he was using reasonable force because the ward was struggling with his escorts, but investigators found the youth was already under adequate control. The 19-year old ward's complaint that Kruse slammed his head against the wall was dismissed because there were no witnesses or visible injuries. The prison remains under an active and ongoing" investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice over repeated complaints that wards' civil rights are being violated there.

Kruse's failure to report the incident violated the department's use-of-force policy, a procedure intended to air all such incidents instead of covering them up with the department's vaunted code of silence." IG Matthew Cate indicated that other employees who failed to report the incident will also be disciplined. Under civil service protection, Kruse remains an employee of the corrections department.

Kruse's swift removal followed a similar move against San Quentin State Prison's former Warden Jill Brown, whom the IG accused of fostering a code of silence" by allegedly muzzling a healthcare manager being questioned by a court-appointed monitor on April 27, 2005. Both Kruse's and Brown's removals were made in anticipation of IG reports.

Source: Sacramento Bee.

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