A prison guard killed himself after he reported the corruption and harassment inside California Correctional Facility to authorities and cooperating with attorneys about suing the state for the misconduct, a newspaper reported.

Prison Guard Dies After Reporting California Correctional Facility

According to U.S. News, the 56-year-old Sgt. Kevin Steele, early this year wrote memos to top prison officials in which he said fellow correctional officers and investigation units had faked documents and planted drugs and weapons on inmates in California State Prison, Sacramento.

The prison guard was found dead on August 20, in Miller County, Missouri, where he had gone after being barred from prison grounds during what prison officials say was a misconduct investigation, but the county coroner ruled that Steele's death was a suicide.

Based on the report of The Sacramento Bee, the two lawyers who were working with Steele said that in some cases inside the correctional facility, other prison guards allegedly planted evidence and had been falsifying documents or covering it up.

A year ago, the 30-year-old Valentino Rodriguez, a second member of the same investigations unit who also complained of harassment and retaliation, died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at his home in West Sacramento.

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Prison Guard Vs. California

The entire unit was tasked with investigating crimes committed inside the prison.

However, the corrections department spokeswoman Dana Simas told the newspaper that the unit had been replaced, and 10 of its officers were facing disciplinary actions related to the death of Rodriguez.

Currently, prison employees are facing investigations, not only by the FBI, but also the corrections department.

The corrections department spokeswoman stated in an email to The Bee that they are taking every allegation of misconduct by staff very seriously and they are working hard to ensure that there would be accountability when allegations were sustained.

Furthermore, an attorney for a white supremacist prison gang member facing federal charges, John Balazs, revealed that Steele was his confidential source. He got information from the prison guard who he used for his statements in court documents that he filed, alleging that his client may be killed in the maximum-security prison commonly called New Folsom.

The source, who Balazs identified as Steele, advised that "rogue" guards planted weapons and drugs in inmates' cells to obtain more overtime, spread false rumors, and relay private information from the files of other inmates in violation of department policy.

Also, Balazs said in his court filing that on at least two occasions, the rogue guards have been directly involved in the killing of a CSP-Sacramento inmate.

Balazs alleged that the guards allowed inmates to conduct a "practice run" a week prior to the killing of the two inmates by their fellow prisoner who was handcuffed to a chair. He cited that his source was Steele.

In a January memo to Prison Warden Jeffrey Lynch, Steele said that he alerted his supervisors regarding the inconsistencies about the slaying. The memo was backed up with recorded interviews.

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Written by: Jess Smith

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