Abu Ghraib of Shasta County Jail

Abu Ghraib of Shasta County Jail

In the latest incidents Jail Staff have put it in writing that not only does the California Penal Code apply to none of them, but that spreading disease amongst inmates is "within policy!"

On Sunday--September 26, 2004--Deputies Seal and Burch did some strange things. During "Laundry Exchange" Deputies Seal and Burch conducted a strip search of the inmates. 

Now as anyone knows, California Penal Code §4030 (a) says, among other things: "Some present search practices violate state and federal constitutional rights to privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to protect the state and federal constitutional rights of the people of California by establishing a statewide policy strictly limiting strip and body cavity searches." (Note: the code says "statewide;" not all of the state except Shasta County!)

Then Penal Code §4030(c) says (among other things): §4030 (c) "As used in this section, "strip search" means a search which requires a person to remove or arrange some or all of his or her clothing so as to permit a visual inspection of the underclothing, breasts, buttocks, or genitalia of such person."

Then Penal Code §4030 (f) says: ". . .No strip search or visual body cavity search or both may be conducted without the prior written authorization of the supervising officer on duty. The authorization shall include the specific and articulable facts and circumstances upon which the reasonable suspicion determination was made by the supervisor."

Then Penal Code §4030 (i) says: "A copy of the prior written authorization required by subdivisions (f) and (g) and the search warrant required by subdivision (h) shall be placed in the agency's records and made available, on request, to the person searched or his or her authorized representative. With regard to any strip, visual or body search, the time, date and place of the search, the name and sex of the person conducting the search and a statement of the results of the search, including a list of any items removed from the person searched, shall be recorded in the agency's records and made available, upon request, to the person searched or his or her authorized representative."

Then Penal Code §4030 (l) says: "All persons conducting or otherwise present during a strip search or visual or physical body cavity search shall be of the same sex as the person being searched, except for physicians or licensed medical personnel.

Then Penal Code §4030 (m) says: "All strip, visual and physical body cavity searches shall be conducted in an area of privacy so that the search cannot be observed by persons not participating in the search. Persons are considered to be participating in the search if their official duties relative to search procedure require them to be present at the time the search is conducted."

Penal Code §4030 (n) then says: "A person who knowingly and willfully authorizes or conducts a strip, visual or physical body cavity search in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor." 

Penal Code §4030 (o) it states: "Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting any common law or statutory rights of any person regarding any action for damages or injunctive relief, or as precluding the prosecution under another provision of law of any peace officer or other person who has violated this section." 

When Deputy Seal was demanding that inmates display themselves naked before him and his Assistant Deputy Burch (female), one of those inmates requested that he (Seal) make available the prior written authorization as required under California Penal Code §4030 (f) and California Penal Code §4030 (i).

Deputy Seal stated that he did not require prior written authorization and when Deputy Burch asked him what was happening he said to her, "That only applies to body cavity searches." (Or words to that effect."

When the inmate looked over his shoulder he could see Seal looking at him, and Burch also watching, and behind them one of the female inmates on Laundry Exchange, sitting at a seat also watching.

Deputies Seal and Burch obviously did not think that Penal Code §4030 applied to them, and therefore, by logical extrapolation, were not carrying out an authorized or proper strip search as defined in Penal Code §4030.

This leaves the rather bizarre specter of a pair of out-of-control peace officers enjoying their own voyeuristic pursuits at the expense of the inmates.

In addition to the "strip searching," Deputy Burch was very carefully and meticulous examination of the soiled clothing of the inmates--paying particular attention to the soiled undergarments. She was also mingling and inspecting the personal drinking vessels of the inmates.

At no time did either Deputy change their protective rubber gloves or endearvour to steralize them between inmates.

It is common knowledge that at the time of this "search" there was an inmate in the POD who is "H.I.V. positive," and another inmate who is suffering from "Hepatitis C."

Certainly the rubber gloves would, in part, protect the wearers from infection, but those same gloves will transmit bacteria and viral contagious agents to anything they touched.

When the inmate complained he was told that the Deputies were "within policy."

Therefore, it must be official policy of the Shasta County for Peace Officers to endearour to spread disease, virus, and infection amongst the inmates.

Apparently the "strip search" was carried out without any reference to Penal Code §4030, and must be viewed then as a viewing of the naked bodies and buttocks of inmates without their consent and against their wishes for the personal pleasure of the Deputies under the guise and protection of a policy that permits such excesses.

To further demonstrate that the laws of California do not apply to Shasta County, another incident happened on October 1, 2004.

On that morning (Friday, October 1, 2004), Deputy Burch entered POD 1B whilst an inmate was showering and others sleeping. She entered numerous cells whilst the inmate occupants were sleeping therein--remained in cell 17 with the door only partly open and the light off for between three and five minutes whilst inmate Huff was sleeping on his bunk. What she did during that time is a mystery, but if her intentions had been benign and/or lawful she would at least have opened the door side and turned on the light.

All this time inmate Lawson remained in the shower cubicle, feeling trapped, and fearful of emerging lest he be charged with exposing himself.

Now, it is known that Penal Code §4021 subdivision (b) of the California Penal Code says, among other things: "§4021 (b), "It shall be unlawful for any officer, jailer, or custodial personnel to search the person of any prisoner of the opposite sex, or to enter into the room or cell occupied by any prisoner of the opposite sex, except in the company of an employee of the same sex as the prisoner. . ."

The issue here is not whether Deputy Burch was alone in a darkened cell, alone with a (sleeping?) male inmate for one minute, five minutes, one hour or even ten hours, but that she was in the darkened cell at all in contravention of Penal Code §4021 (b).

A wise man (or was it a women?) Once said "Justice must not only be done, but it must also be seen to be done."

Moshe I. Stein
Shasta County Jail
1655 West Street
Redding, CA 96001

Abu Ghraib of Shasta County Jail - Part II 

 Shasta Jail Grievance

Inmate ID Fiasco

Moshe I. Stein - Index


 Three Strikes Legal - Index