In the wake of scandals exposing torture and murder by medical neglect of inmates, prisons undersecretary Scott Kernan has announced his retirement. The 49-year-old Kernan has been with the California Department of Corrections since 1983 starting as a prison guard and advancing to the second in command over 33 state prisons. He was arrested in June 2009 for driving under the influence of alcohol(DUI) while driving a state car but was allowed to continue his job as prison secretary by the Senate anyway.
Many lawsuits were filed by prisoners and their families naming Scott Kernan as a defendant for prisoner medical neglect and deliberate indifference to abuses. Here are but a few listed at Justia.com, most are still in progress.
This recent video-taped interview of dying parolee Teddie Rowe, who was once the State Capitol cook, names Kernan as the man who neglected his pleas for help. Kernan was associate warden then later promoted to warden at California State Prison Mule Creek in Ione before his appointment as prisons undersecretary.
Teddie Rowe is a lifelong resident of Sacramento who cooked for the lawmakers and catered such famous weddings as that of Tom Hayden and other celebrity events. He was a diabetic on medication when he entered prison but due to the lack of a proper diet deteriorated to the point that he required four insulin shots a day. He also caught Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is at epidemic proportions affecting both inmates and staff in California's unsanitary prisons. A nine-year prison term resulted in congestive heart failure and a death sentence for Rowe.
At the time this interview was taped with family and friends present, Teddie Rowe's heart was functioning at only 14% and with just days left to live, he describes his tragic prison medical neglect. He was accused of child molestation and incarcerated for seven years. There was a recantation in his case four years ago upon release when his accusers came to his church and told the congregation of his innocence. But it was too late to save Teddie Rowe and he didn't qualify for a transplant due to his deteriorated condition.
This clip is not the entire interview which describes how he was in such bad shape that he couldn't walk and was put on a GPS device for four years even after his alleged victim recanted. He had no income from social security and at one point had to live in a local homeless shelter infected with the highly contagious MRSA. He was so ill that he was completely incapacitated. The system clearly failed Teddie Rowe. Kernan is expected to exit his position as undersecretary this week.
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