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Report on Jail Violence Dominates Board of Supervisors Meeting

Jonathan Tolliver |
January 20, 2015 | 9:19 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department provided an update on the effect of proposals meant to stem violence in County jails.

Hilda Solis (Talk Radio News Service/Creative Commons)
Hilda Solis (Talk Radio News Service/Creative Commons)

Recently-elected Sheriff Jim McDonnell led a presentation outlining his department’s progress on a series of recommendations passed down by the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence (CCJV) in Fall 2012. He said he was “proud of how far we’ve come,” and pointed to reductions in inmate injuries and use of Level 3 force by jail guards. 

McDonnell said guards needed more training on how to interact with the mentally ill, and that the department needed to put a greater focus on “supervision, data tracking and technology implementation.”

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The Sheriff’s Department received funding for 20 body scanners in accordance with CCJV recommendations. Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald said that about 3,600 inmates have been scanned, resulting in the discovery of heroin and a bullet, respectively. 

McDonald said that while the scanners have helped speed up searches, the department “didn’t get the staff to implement the equipment.”

Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl wondered if the scanners were helping female inmates.

“Supervisor Solis and I have received more than one report from women and their families where they received invasive searches, sometimes twice in one day,” said Kuehl.

SEE ALSO: Jim McDonnell Wins L.A. County Sheriff

Los Angeles City Council candidate Eric Preven chided the department for withholding information. 

“All of the data about use of force that would be published in a chart is now not published in a chart. That is a serious problem,” he said.

The board also moved to create a trauma care center in the San Gabriel Valley.

The motion was co-sponsored by supervisors Solis and Michael Antonovich. The Board hopes the center will address what they characterized as a healthcare emergency.

SEE ALSO: Hilda Solis Resigns As Labor Secretary

The San Gabriel Valley has not had a trauma care hospital since 1987. Supervisor Solis said this means that victims of violence or catastrophic injury have to be driven 30 minutes away to Los Angeles County-USC (LAC+USC) Medical Center

“Indeed for those who need trauma care, it may be a matter of life and death,” said Supervisor Solis.

The County’s Director of Health Services now has 30 days to report back on the status trauma hospital applications.

Contact Staff Reporter Jonathan Tolliver here and here.



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