A federal judge overseeing improvements to psychiatric care in California’s prisons plans to appoint an experienced fraud investigator to look into allegations that state officials gave her inaccurate or misleading data in a long-running civil lawsuit.
In an eight-page order issued late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller said the investigation would focus first on whether prison leaders committed fraud upon the court.
The decision follows revelations in a report last month by the chief psychiatrist for the prisons, Dr. Michael Golding, who accused state officials of distorting data to mask the state’s failure to meet court-mandated deadlines for providing treatment for prisoners who suffer from mental illness.
Initially resistant to the idea of appointing an independent investigator to look into the allegations, Mueller wrote she was convinced to move forward after learning of a second whistleblower just last week.
“The court is persuaded that appointment of an experienced, highly competent, independent investigator is necessary to an efficient resolution of the issues presented by the Golding Report,” Mueller wrote.