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Porterville Developmental Center Beating Highlights Accountability Failures

Dec 10, 2013


What happens when the most vulnerable members of society are failed by the very system that is there to protect them? That’s the question asked in a major series of reports by the Center For Investigative Reporting called Broken Shield.

It’s a deep look into the world of allegations of violent abuse, sexual assault and even deaths inside California’s five “board and care”, including the Porterville Developmental Center in Tulare County. These institutions provide care to around 1,800 patients with cerebral palsy, severe autism and other mental disabilities. They have their own police and investigative forces, which CIR's investigation revealed to be largely ineffective.

Recently CIR staff reporter Ryan Gabrielson published an account of a 2010 beating at the Porterville center that is still goes unpunished three years later. Gabrielson joined us to talk about this specific case, and the larger investigation, which is a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.