Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Jail’
California’s prison realignment is continuing to cause waves throughout the state. Most recently, it’s been reported that low-level offenders who previously helped clear brush and cut fire lines, will no longer be able to serve in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Conservation Camp Program after they’re transferred from state to county jails.
The primary mission of the Conservation Camp program is to provide agencies with an able-bodied, trained work force for fire suppression and other emergencies such as floods and earthquakes.
According to statistics provided by the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, in an average year, Conservation Camp Program inmates provide approximately three million person hours in firefighting and other emergencies and save California taxpayers more than $80 million annually, on average.
A lot has happened with the state’s numerous jails in the past 12 months. Between celebrity arrests, jail over-crowding, budget cuts and prisoner realignment, state lawmakers and law enforcement officials have had their plates full. Now, with 2011 fast approaching its close, we thought we’d go back and highlight the top 10 jail headlines of the year.
The Santa Maria jail and the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s gang unit received notification that they were in jeopardy of being shut down as a means of helping to bridge the county’s $72 million budget gap. Sheriff’s deputies did not take the proposal lightly, although they acknowledged the need for budget cuts. Officials estimated that closing the jail could save $1.2 million annually.
Although many were excited about the February opening of the $84 million downtown Los Angeles facility, others pointed to concerns that the jail would take 83 officers off the street to help operate it. Once opened, the Metro Center Jail replaced the antiquated, 50 year-old Parker Center Jail.
Mel Gibson made a plea deal with prosecutors this year which meant he did not need to face jail time for his 2010 domestic violence charges. As part of the deal Gibson pled guilty to misdemeanor battery charges for an altercation involving his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva. He was, however, ordered to undergo counseling as part of that agreement.
In May of 2011, Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin suggested the closure of the main jail as a means of helping to close the county’s $20 million budget deficit. He further proposed the early release of 150-200 inmates and the elimination of 20 correctional officers. The closure, he said would trim $8 million from the sheriff’s $40 million budget.
Starting June 1, the San Francisco County Jail implemented a policy which exempted it from detaining illegal immigrants who had been arrested for petty crimes. This was the first time in the history of California that this type of policy was enacted. Law enforcement officials said that the county was not obligated to assist the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless a felony crime had been committed.
Law enforcement officials in Costa Mesa joined others from throughout the state in searching for creative solutions to help bridge budget gaps. Part of that solution involved putting out a request for proposal (RFP) to seek a private firm take over jail operations. A bid from the firm G4S to run the Costa Mesa Jail came with an approximate annual cost of $614,000. Proponents of the plan pointed out that this was a marked reduction from the $1.3 million it cost to run the facility under the city’s police department.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California needed to reduce its prisoner population by 30,000. CA Gov. Jerry Brown then proposed “realigning” prisons as a means of compliance. Instead of low-level, non-violent non-sexual offenders serving out their sentences in state facilities, Brown proposed they be transferred to county facilities instead. The realignment concept sparked concern from sheriff’s departments throughout the state, including the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department found itself under the microscope for most of 2011 after allegations that two Sheriff’s Deputies beat a Twin Towers Jail inmate unconscious. The Jan. 24 log of the incident said the “inmate was punching the deputies until they had no other choice but to tase him”. The American Civil Liberties Union said that charges like this are not uncommon but are hard to prove because the inmate-witnesses to the alleged crimes are not considered to be credible.
After months of internal investigations the LA County Board of Supervisors agreed with suggestions that county jails needed more oversight. As of Oct. 20, two plans were being considered. The first proposed the instillation of surveillance cameras, eliminating the use of heavy flashlights and steel-toed shoes, and the implementation of a ban that would prohibit deputies from striking inmates on the head. Plan number two would establish an independent review commission that would look into complaints. The supervisors hoped this would help restore public confidence in the Los Angeles County Jail system.
#1 Read more »
Fox Los Angeles reported that Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca has a new jail plan. If approved by the County Board of Supervisors, the $1.4 billion plan would allow for the demolition and rebuilding of the downtown Men’s Central Jail and would also allow for a new, women’s jail to be constructed at Pitchess Detention Center.
The proposal comes amidst staunch allegations of inmate abuse by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) . County officials believe that prison populations could be better managed should construction plans be approved.
Baca told Fox that the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail is antiquated and if the new facility is approved it could reduce annual operation costs by approximately $23.7 million. The current facility, which houses about 5,000 inmates, was built in 1963.
Baca further noted the new facilities would allow Read more »
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said he’s taking allegations of inmate abuse within the LA County jail system seriously.
In response to recent claims made by former department rookie Joshua Sather that he had been instructed by a supervisor to beat a mentally ill inmate, as well as other allegations brought forth by the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU), Baca said he has created two separate task forces address concerns.
“A number of allegations of misconduct including excessive force by Sheriff’s Department jail staff have been brought to my attention,” Baca said in a statement. “In order to address Read more »
George Rosales, an 18-year old Los Angeles County Jail inmate died last week after allegedly being punched in the head by a sheriff’s deputy. It’s been reported that Rosales, who was incarcerated for armed robbery on July 27, was struck after he attempted to make a run for a prison elevator.
The inmate had been seen drinking water and appeared fine just 15 minutes earlier, prison officials say, but during a subsequent check they found Rosales in a state of distress. Rosales died during ambulance transport to a local hospital.
Sheriffs investigators say Read more »
LOS ANGELES – Yesterday, at approximately 7:30am the 20-year-old inmate was reportedly found lying lifeless in his jail cell at the Men’s Central Jail in L.A, according to the Sheriff’s and Coroner’s officials.
His name has not yet been released to the public and the death of the inmate is now undergoing investigation. There is no information being released now according to why his death occurred or if there was any violence that contributed to his death. An autopsy is Read more »
The LAPD is going to receive funding from a $640,000 loan in order to keep sworn officers on the street and civilians to staff the newly opened Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles.
According to the LA Times, on Wednesday, officials finalized the loan that will enable the LAPD to have more officers on patrol rather than standing guard in the jail.
The Los Angeles Police Department, earlier this month made a plan to put 89 officers into staffing the detention center instead of being put on patrol because the jails were understaffed.
City Councilman, Greig Smith, along with others was unhappy with this plan and thus, approached a new plan. The plan would be to get a loan from a city trust fund, which is exactly what happened. The LAPD will receive an interest-free loan of approximately $640,000, under the condition Read more »
LAPD Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC)
After long debate, the $84 million jail facility, to open in downtown Los Angeles, is scheduled to open either Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
However, due limited staffing resources, the jail will take 83 officers off the streets and into the jail to operate it.
The new Metro Center Jail facility (apparently be referred to by LAPD as “MDC” or Metropolitian Dention Center) is taking the place of the out-dated jail known as the Parker Center. The Parker Center jail was nearly a half-century old and inmates are known to use the plumbing system as a way of sabotage, by flooding it and making it run into other floors of the jail.
Michel Moore, the LAPD Assistant Police Chief, stated in regards to the opening of the new prison and reassigning the 83 law enforcement officers they currently have as the “least unfavorable option, given the circumstances that we’re in.”
Moore also stated to the Los Angeles City Council Budget and Finance and Public Safety Committees that, “The department is not attempting to argue that this is a good thing to do. It is instead trying to argue that it is a necessary effort [because] to continue to operate within Parker Center jail in its current conditions, we do not believe is the most responsible use of our resources.”
He also assured the committees and public Read more »
On Monday, a city panel reassigned 83 LAPD officers to the new Metropolitan Detention Center Jail in efforts to get it running by the end of January. Although many city officials and the LAPD are apparently against the approval of taking officers off the street and relocating them to the jail, because of the hiring freeze, it’s the only viable option.
According to City Councilman Greg Smith, “Other options are even worse.”
The approved plan will take police officers from the street and relocate them to the jail for six-month periods.
The Metropolitan Center was finished 18-months ago, but the LAPD have been unable to open the new facility due to under staffing. The new facility was built in order to take place of the Parker Center jail. Parker Center jail is an outdated and smaller jail facility with a capacity of 440 inmates. Chief Michel Moore said that keeping the Parker Center jail open is an unsafe Read more »
On Monday, Ryan Martinez of Palmdale had been arrested and taken into the Sheriff’s Station at the Santa Clarita Valley Jail for questioning due to a burglary charge. While Martinez was being held in an interview room within the jail, officials were waiting to perform further questioning until the victim could provide a clear identification of the suspect.
According to officials, they Read more »