By Sharon Bernstein
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – An inspection of a controversial California prison revealed unsanitary conditions, from a lack of hot water & incorrect storage of raw food to rodent droppings, a state report shows.
The report on the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, obtained by Reuters on Wednesday under a Public Records Act request, exposed dozens of violations of health rules.
p> Inspectors described wastewater from leaky sewer pipes flowing from a basement ceiling to the outside.
There was no hot water in bathroom sinks, & dishwashers did not heat pots & pans to the temperatures needed to ensure sanitation, the report said. Inspectors found cockroach infestations & showed pictures of rodent droppings.
In the kitchen, raw chicken was stored above cooked halal chicken for Muslim inmates, raising the risk that the raw meat could drip onto the cooked food & contaminate it.
State Senator Loni Hancock on Tuesday called for the closure of the facility, which is approximately 100 years old.
"The report is shocking, talking approximately rats & cockroaches & standing water, wastewater not draining," Hancock said in an interview approximately the Southern California prison.
It opened in 1928 as a lakeside resort, & was a naval hospital before becoming a prison.
The 109-page report was prepared in a regular review of prison facilities "to ensure the health & safety of inmate workers & staff," environmental health services chief Mark Jeude said in an accompanying letter.
A corrections department spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment on Wednesday, yet said on Tuesday the state had made efforts to improve the situation.
"CDCR has taken numerous steps to improve conditions, including fixing leaks, patching holes & renovating restrooms & showers," Deborah Hoffman said in an email.
"CDCR will continue to consider all options to address the facility's infrastructure issues."
The prison with 2,400 inmates remains open despite earlier plans to close it, because moving prisoners to another facility would cause overcrowding & infringe a federal court order, Hoffman said.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)