San Quentin Warden Removal Linked to Inmate Health Care Lawsuit
San Quentin State Prison Warden Jill Brown on Thursday was removed from her position after an investigation by the Department of Corrections inspector general found that she had discouraged prison medical personnel from cooperating with attorneys in a lawsuit addressing inmate health care, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Thompson, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/8).
The inspector general's office investigated allegations that Brown, who has been warden since May 2004, threatened disciplinary action against a doctor who spoke with attorneys about problems with health care services at San Quentin, the corrections department official said, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/8).
Robert Chapnick, who then served as health care manager at San Quentin, earlier this year requested to meet privately with Alison Hardy -- a staff attorney for the not-for-profit Prison Law Office, which is representing inmates in the lawsuit -- during a visit she made to the prison.
Keith Wattley, a PLO attorney, said that Brown then sent "a clear message to everyone in the room ... that prison staff are not to cooperate with attorneys who are in the prison by court order, to comply with court orders."
PLO filed a complaint, leading to the inspector general's report, which was sent to corrections department officials June 29 (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/8).
The office's report has not been made public, but the corrections department official said the report found that communications problems between prison officials and medical staff contributed to the inadequate health care at the facility (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/8).
Corrections department spokesperson Todd Slosek said Brown could continue to work within the department as an associate warden but added that it was unclear whether she would pursue that option.
Chapnick now works at corrections department headquarters in Sacramento (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/8).