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Feds Want Oversight Of L.A. County Jails

Will Federman |
June 7, 2014 | 12:02 p.m. PDT


The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking court oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department handling of county inmates after a considerable uptick in suicides, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A report published by the Justice Department discovered living conditions in county jails to be "dimly lit, vermin-infested, noisy, unsanitary, cramped and crowded," contributing to 15 inmate suicides in just 30 months. The mental health conditions for inmates are so inadequate that the Justice Department claims county jails are actually in violation of the constitution — a new low for the scandal-ridden sheriff's department.

SEE ALSO: Community Vigil Following Resignation Of L.A. County Sheriff

The Justice Department and the county entered into a memorandum of agreement in 2002 after a thorough examination of county jails uncovered serious mental health care deficiencies. Negotiations over reforms stalled when county officials disagreed with federal officials, prompting the Justice Department to become more aggressive.

“We are disappointed that today’s report fails to fully recognize the additional progress made over the last year and a half to improve mental health services,” the sheriff's department said in a statement to the press. “The report also mischaracterizes and significantly understates the incredible efforts made to improve our suicide prevention practices."

Good luck, Jim McDonnell.


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