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Attacks using bodily fluids a problem at California lockups

September 18, 2018

FILE - In this June 20, 2018 file photo , inmates pass a correctional officer as they leave an exercise yard at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, Calif. A new report says California prisons and jails should do more to protect guards from prisoners who fling bodily fluids in so-called "gassing" attacks. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California prisons and jails should do more to protect guards from inmates who fling bodily fluids in so-called “gassing” attacks, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The state auditor’s office looked at three lockups holding a total of nearly 10,000 prisoners and identified 111 instances of attacks involving a noxious mixture — typically urine and feces — during 2017.

“These attacks are considered a type of aggravated battery and facilities have a number of responsibilities to carry out following such an incident,” the report said.

The investigation concluded the lockups did not adequately respond to and investigate gassing attacks. As a result, only 31 percent of gassing attacks at the three facilities from 2015 through 2017 resulted in convictions, according to the report.

The investigation also found that administrators don’t have adequate procedures to care for guards who are attacked. Often victims were not made aware of “aftercare services,” including those as simple as proper medical evaluations.

The auditors recommend that lockups revise polices so that victims are made aware of available counseling services following attacks, “as well as their right to request that the inmate be tested for a communicable disease,” the report’s summary said.

Other recommendations include additional training for guards on dealing with attacks and harsher discipline for prisoners who commit them.

The facilities studied in the audit were the California Institution for Men in San Bernardino County, the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles and Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department concurred with the conclusions and agreed to implement the recommended changes at CIM and Men’s Central, the report said. However the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office only partially agreed with the recommendations for Santa Rita, asserting that it had sufficient procedures already in place, according to the report.

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