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Jail System

December 12, 2013 | By Ted Rall
From a cartoonist's standpoint, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is the gift that keeps on giving. With allegations that include corruption and inmate abuse, you have to wonder whether the really bad guys aren't the ones inside the cells but the ones guarding them. Responding to numerous credible reports of dirty dealings by deputies, the FBI arrested a number of sheriff's officials in connection with a wide-ranging probe of alleged improprieties by a department charged with - remember?
April 23, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
A consultant hired by Los Angeles County to develop a longterm plan for the county's aging jail facilities laid out options for a roughly $2-billion proposed overhaul of the jail system in a report released Wednesday. The county supervisors, concerned about deteriorating facilities and poor living conditions for inmates with mental health issues, want to tear down the aging Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles and replace it. The new facility would be primarily focused on housing inmates with physical and mental health needs and substance abuse issues.
A series of violent brawls last week among hundreds of inmates at the Pitchess jail has cast a spotlight on the vexing political, economic and racial problems plaguing the county's jail system, and authorities concede there are no solid solutions in sight.
April 3, 2014 | By a Times Staff Writer
Singer Chris Brown's trip from Los Angeles County jail system to a Washington, D.C., is taking place on a federal "Con Air" prisoner aircraft. Law enforcement sources said he was set to be flown out to the East Coast sometime Thursday. Brown's attorney, Mark Geragos, confirmed Thursday that the R&B singer had been taken by federal marshals to the San Bernardino County jail while he awaits transportation to Washington, D.C. Inmate records show he was taken from "LA cell block" at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
In Los Angeles County, being sentenced to 30 days in County Jail means serving 11. That, says Sheriff Sherman Block, is why he is seeking voter approval Nov. 6 of Proposition A, a half-cent sales tax increase to fund construction and operation of new jails and juvenile halls. The measure is designed to relieve the jail overcrowding that has forced the early release since mid-1988 of 325,644 people accused or convicted of misdemeanors.
May 1, 1994
Several years ago, officials in Orange were promised that if they allowed Orange County to expand the Theo Lacy Branch Jail, only minimum- and medium-security prisoners would be housed behind the bars. Last month the promise was broken, and four dozen maximum-security inmates were moved into the facility on The City Drive. Orange City Council members and residents predictably were outraged, with some erroneously blaming Sheriff Brad Gates.
April 19, 1989 | BARRY M. HORSTMAN, Times Staff Writer
Displaying growing dissatisfaction with the Sheriff's Department, San Diegans favor removing the jails from Sheriff John Duffy's control and strongly support establishing an independent civilian board to review complaints against deputies, a Times poll shows. While San Diegans were divided on their view of overall jail conditions, the poll found that two-thirds favor creating a civilian review board and that, by a more than 3-to-2 margin, they would prefer to see the jails run by a separate corrections department answerable to the Board of Supervisors.
November 21, 2011 | By Jason Song, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County supervisors could soon be asked to approve the county's most expensive building project ever, a $1.4-billion reconstruction and renovation of two jails, one of which has figured in allegations of inmate abuse. The officials will also have to gauge whether the potential benefits outweigh the hefty price tag, given the tough economy. Some supervisors wonder whether they may be diverting money from other vital services when cheaper jail alternatives could be considered.
May 3, 2013 | By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
An inmate charged with murder in a 2010 Baldwin Park gang shooting was mistakenly released from the Los Angeles County jail system last month because of a clerical error, sheriff's officials revealed Friday. The department waited nearly a month before alerting the public that Johnny Mata was on the loose. Mata was set free April 4 from the Sheriff's Department's Inmate Reception Center in downtown Los Angeles, according to Capt. Chuck Antuna. "A clerical error occurred and he was released," Antuna said.
July 16, 2013 | By Seema Mehta and Abby Sewell
Concerned that federal authorities could soon intervene in the operation of Los Angeles County's outdated jail system, the Board of Supervisors took a significant step Tuesday toward replacing the Men's Central Jail and renovating other facilities to reduce crowding and increase mental health services for prisoners. The board voted unanimously to accept a report from consultants who outlined five jail renovation options. All options included tearing down and replacing the cornerstone of the nation's largest jail system - the Men's Central Jail - and reconfiguring other existing facilities.
April 3, 2014 | By Richard Winton
Singer Chris Brown has been taken by U.S. marshals from the Los Angeles County jail system so he can appear at his assault trial in Washington, D.C., later this month. Brown's attorney, Mark Geragos, confirmed Thursday that the R&B singer had been taken by federal marshals to the San Bernardino County jail while he awaits transportation to Washington, D.C. Inmate records show he was taken from "LA cell block" at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday. Law enforcement sources said he was set to be flown out to the East Coast on Thursday, the same day a hearing had been scheduled for a motion by Geragos seeking to block Brown's transfer to federal authorities, arguing it would hurt his ability to confer with his client before the trial.  Geragos had also sought permission to transport the singer himself, but as soon as the motion was filed, the attorney said federal authorities took his client.
March 19, 2014 | By Matt Pearce, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
A news report has raised questions about how New York City jail officials handle at-risk inmates after a troubled 56-year-old former Marine was found dead in a Rikers Island cell where the temperature at one point had reportedly exceeded 100 degrees. “He basically baked to death,” one official with knowledge of Jerome Murdough's death told the Associated Press. The wire service reported that Murdough was mentally ill, homeless and had been arrested for trespassing after trying to curl up and sleep in an enclosed stairwell on a chilly winter night.
March 8, 2014 | By Abby Sewell and Jack Leonard
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is considering a new system for deciding which jail inmates get released early by making predictions about who is most likely to commit new crimes. The proposal calls for a significant shift for the nation's largest jail system, which currently determines when inmates get released by looking at the seriousness of their most recent offense and the percentage of their sentence they have already served. Officials say the current system has weaknesses because it does not take into account the inmate's full record, including serious crimes that occurred years ago. Supporters argue the change would help select inmates for early release who are less likely to commit new crimes.
March 6, 2014 | By Robert Faturechi
Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies pleaded not guilty Thursday in connection with allegations that they assaulted a handcuffed inmate, according to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office. Deputies Joey Aguiar and Mariano Ramirez were the latest in a string of 21 current and former sheriff's officials charged by federal authorities in connection with the FBI's three-year investigation into brutality and other misconduct in the Sheriff's Department. Last month, federal authorities alleged that Aguiar and Ramirez violated the civil rights of the inmate by assaulting him Feb. 11, 2009, inside Men's Central Jail.
February 7, 2014 | By Richard Winton
Federal authorities on Friday indicted two Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies who allegedly beat a chained jail inmate, then falsely accused him of attacking them. Deputies Joey Aguiar and Mariano Ramirez were indicted on charges in connection with the beating of an inmate in February 2009. According to the indictment, Aguiar and Ramirez punched and kicked the victim before using pepper spray on him. The deputies also struck him with a flashlight, prosecutors charged. DOCUMENT: Read the indictment The deputies then wrote false reports claiming that the inmate had "viciously kicked his legs at deputies.
February 7, 2014 | By Jack Leonard, Robert Faturechi and Richard Winton
Federal prosecutors announced charges Friday against two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies accused of assaulting a handcuffed inmate in a case that broadens the FBI's ongoing inquiry and raises new questions about how the Sheriff's Department has investigated deputy misconduct in the nation's largest jail system. Sheriff's officials previously rejected allegations that the deputies used excessive force despite a jail chaplain coming forward to say that he witnessed the 2009 incident and believed the deputies beat a helpless inmate.
He was only trying to protest the Vietnam War and follow a creed of nonviolent resistance. But after he was gang-raped 50 times in the Washington, D.C., jail, Stephen Donaldson started a war of his own. It all began on a hot August afternoon in 1973, when he was arrested at a White House pray-in. For reasons of conscience, the Quaker activist refused to post $10 bail and was placed in a cell with other first-time offenders. Then, without warning, he was sent to a wing with hardened criminals.
November 23, 2011
In the coming weeks, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to decide whether to approve a $1.4-billion jail construction project that would help ease overcrowding at Men's Central Jail and prevent the early release of some inmates. The county's chief executive and Sheriff Lee Baca argue that the plan, which calls for rebuilding one facility and expanding a second, would make the nation's largest jail system safer and cheaper to operate. It's hard to argue with the need or the logic.
January 28, 2014 | By Abby Sewell and Robert Faturechi
The newly named interim sheriff of Los Angeles County, current Orange County Undersheriff John L. Scott, said Tuesday that he would continue the momentum of reform in the beleaguered department. Flanked by four of the five county supervisors, Scott said, "I can assure you, I'm not going to be a place-holder here in L.A. County. I will begin the process immediately of restoring both the dignity to the men and women of L.A. County and the confidence and trust of the public that we serve.
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