The AP (6/7) reports that DOJ released a report Friday that found Los Angeles County jails “have ‘deplorable’ conditions that have contributed to a dramatic increase in suicides” and found “there is inadequate mental health care and supervision to identify suicidal inmates or prevent them from becoming suicidal.” The report found 15 inmates killed themselves in two and a half years and cited “‘dimly lit, vermin-infested, noisy, unsanitary, cramped and crowded’ conditions” in the jails. The DOJ report said the Sheriff’s Department had completed some reforms required by a 2002 agreement, but said “‘serious systemic deficiencies’ remain.”
The Los Angeles Times (6/7, Chang) reports that DOJ said Friday it wants “court oversight of how the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department treats those inmates,” which “marks a significant escalation by the federal government in its efforts to improve conditions in the nation’s largest jail system.” The Times says the county disputes DOJ’s findings “and defended its treatment of mentally ill inmates.”
The Wall Street Journal (6/7, Phillips, Subscription Publication) reports that Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels, head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement, “The Los Angeles County Jails have an obligation to provide conditions of confinement that do not offend the Constitution and to take reasonable measures to protect inmates from harm.”
— “Report: Mental health care at LA jails lacking,” Associated Press, Sacramento Bee, June 6, 2014.