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Overcrowded Jails

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 30, 1996
If we get 450 or 710 new cops (May 23), where are we going to put the people they arrest? LARRY BECK Tarzana
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OPINION
November 18, 2011
Too many inmates Re "County jails filling faster than feared," Nov. 16 There is an obvious solution to L.A. County's jail overcrowding problem. I read in The Times recently that 70% of the people in jail are awaiting trial. The last time I checked, these people have not been convicted of anything and are, therefore, presumed innocent. The problem is, they are not presumed innocent by the majority of the judges in this county when it comes to bail. Judges routinely set bail in amounts so high that hardly any person charged with a crime can afford to post it. So they go into custody.
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OPINION
November 18, 2011
Too many inmates Re "County jails filling faster than feared," Nov. 16 There is an obvious solution to L.A. County's jail overcrowding problem. I read in The Times recently that 70% of the people in jail are awaiting trial. The last time I checked, these people have not been convicted of anything and are, therefore, presumed innocent. The problem is, they are not presumed innocent by the majority of the judges in this county when it comes to bail. Judges routinely set bail in amounts so high that hardly any person charged with a crime can afford to post it. So they go into custody.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2010 | By Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times
As far as jails go, the Los Angeles Police Department's gleaming, new Metropolitan Detention Center is about as good as it gets. Armed with more than $70 million in public funds, the department spared little expense four years ago when it started construction on the 172,000-square-foot, five-floor structure that is one of the largest of its kind. It's wired with video cameras and has automated security doors and electronic fingerprinting stations. To better monitor inmates and cut down on overcrowding, the jail is divided into secure wings that are flooded with sunlight from skylights and kept cool by a centralized air conditioner.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 9, 1985 | JAN KLUNDER, Times Staff Writer
The Los Angeles County jail system, designed to house 11,113 inmates, has reached an all-time high of 18,056, and facilities are so severely overcrowded that authorities may soon have to turn prisoners loose, Sheriff Sherman Block said Saturday. "I don't know what our absolute limit is, but at some point our system will stop functioning," Block said at an impromptu press conference. "As we approached 15,000, we believed that the system would probably break down.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 1996 | From Times staff and wire reports
An outbreak of dangerous meningitis in Los Angeles three years ago was spread by newly released prisoners who caught the bacteria in overcrowded jails, federal investigators conclude in the New England Journal of Medicine. From January through March 1993, 54 people came down with meningococcal disease in Los Angeles County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied 42 of them--including three who died--to see how their habits differed from those of people who escaped the illness.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 27, 2009 | Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is threatening to close one of the county's five jails next week if he is forced to cut $25 million from his $2.5-billion budget. Baca sent a letter to county supervisors Friday saying that in order to cut costs, he plans to shut down the 1,600-bed North Facility at Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic on Wednesday. He told the supervisors that he will release some of those inmates early and transfer others to already overcrowded jails, according to sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 1990 | JONATHAN FREEDMAN, Jonathan Freedman is a writer in San Diego.
Are Californians who await trial in overcrowded jails no longer protected from cruel and unusual punishment by the U.S. Constitution? Clifton Redman was an immature-looking 18-year-old in 1983, detained on suspicion of auto theft, when they brought him into the mainline tank of the South Bay jail in San Diego. He first had been placed in a "young and tender" unit for protection from hardened criminals.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 2, 1988 | DAVE LESHER, Times Staff Writer
An initiative drive aimed at putting all future county jails in Santa Ana had a resurgence in January, but its founders are still searching for a strategy to gain the nearly 66,000 signatures they need. Rick Violett, head of the Taxpayers for a Centralized Jail, said the group raised nearly $10,000 in January. But from Oct. 14, when the group was formed, to Dec. 31, the organization raised just $8,000, according to the financial disclosure statement it filed Monday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 22, 1991 | MARIA NEWMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Sheriff Brad Gates, who last month was found guilty on 17 counts of contempt for illegally releasing prisoners early from his jails, Friday was granted until August to come up with a plan to reduce early releases. Presiding Municipal Court Judge Richard W. Stanford Jr. had ordered Gates to come up with such a plan by Friday. But Gates and his attorney said they needed more time to arrange space for the 300 to 500 more prisoners the judge wants the sheriff to house in already overcrowded jails.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 27, 2009 | Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is threatening to close one of the county's five jails next week if he is forced to cut $25 million from his $2.5-billion budget. Baca sent a letter to county supervisors Friday saying that in order to cut costs, he plans to shut down the 1,600-bed North Facility at Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic on Wednesday. He told the supervisors that he will release some of those inmates early and transfer others to already overcrowded jails, according to sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.
OPINION
January 6, 2007
Re "No easy fix for the jail system," news analysis, Dec. 30 Elected officials are blaming everyone but themselves for the disaster of L.A. County's jails. In particular, county Supervisor Mike Antonovich's swipe at the American Civil Liberties Union as the "American Criminal Liberties Union" reveals the schoolyard name-calling that distracts us from the tragedy of our jails. Deplorable jail conditions serve neither the requirements of rehabilitation nor retribution. Cramming prisoners, 90% of whom have not been convicted, into tiny cells, withholding needed medical care and exposing them and sheriff's deputies to jailhouse violence and diseases such as staph pose a serious public safety hazard for those inside and out. As The Times' reporting has shown, overcrowded jails demoralize young deputies who will someday patrol our communities.
NATIONAL
January 17, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Police in Alabama and Georgia searched for two murder suspects who fled from an overcrowded jail after overpowering guards, wounding one with a makeshift knife, authorities said. Officers used tracking dogs in the hunt for Johnny Earl Jones, 17, who was charged with killing a child he was baby-sitting, and Lamar Benton, 19, charged in a woman's rape and slaying. The pair escaped early Saturday from Russell County Jail in Phenix City.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 18, 1998 | JOE MOZINGO, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Attempting to make sense of a nationwide drop in crime, some of the country's top criminal justice experts who spoke at a Rand Corp. workshop Saturday rejected a common perception that a reported decline in violent crimes was the result of tougher sentencing laws and increased imprisonment.
NEWS
August 10, 1997 | ANN M. SIMMONS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Habyarimana, 13, longs for the taste of juicy tomatoes. But here in the children's wing of Gikondo prison, his home since he was 10, such delicacies are rare. Instead, all he gets are beans, porridge and ugali--a sticky mixture of cornmeal flour and water. Still, in many ways, Habyarimana is fortunate, especially considering why he is here.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 11, 1997
"Fix Up the Jail or Wait for a Lawsuit," Commentary, April 3: Ramona Ripston of the ACLU complains about overcrowding in jail, prisoners sleeping in crowded housing units with bunks and mattresses so close that they touch, not enough shower time, not enough towels, clothing, toilet articles, etc. Good God, oh my, jump up and down and hold my breath until I turn blue. Poor babies. I guess the only way these jewels of the city can have all these wonderful things is to stay out of jail.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 1996 | From Times staff and wire reports
An outbreak of dangerous meningitis in Los Angeles three years ago was spread by newly released prisoners who caught the bacteria in overcrowded jails, federal investigators conclude in the New England Journal of Medicine. From January through March 1993, 54 people came down with meningococcal disease in Los Angeles County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied 42 of them--including three who died--to see how their habits differed from those of people who escaped the illness.
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