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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Report: More Than 30 Jailers Punished

After examining a dozen cases in jail brutality researchers say many deputies "get away" with unnecesary force.

More than 30 jail employees have been punished for beating inmates or covering abuse, according to a report released Thursday by the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review.

The report says other deputies "get away" with unnecesary force against inmates because they are able to "craft a story of justification...which may be impossible to disprove."

"We take the report very seriously and any suggestions that need to be made or looked at will be done so thoroughly so that we can improve the custody environment for deputies and inmates," Nicole Nishida, spokesperson for Sheriff Lee Baca, said in response to the report.

The OIR report includes a dozen cases in which deputies were either fired or investigated for misconduct with inmates. In one case, a deputy began punching an inmate in the neck and head after he thought he heard the inmate mumble something disrespectful. The Department fired the deputy and his partner for not telling the truth.

Investigators caution that those deputies punished may only be a fraction of employees who have used excessive force. Investigations into excessive force, especially cases that involve minor injuries to the inmate, are rarely thoroughly investicated and can be "lackluster, sometimes slanted and insufficiently thorough," the report says.

But not all violence is unjustifiable. The report says that the environment of jails almost invites violence against inmates. Most of the time, deputies are called to break up inmate-on-inmate fights.

The OIR released recommendations to make investigations more efficient and thorough such as not having the deputy involved present during the inmate's interview and investigators should recieve ongoing training.

In order to improve the enviroment, Sheriff Baca has implemeted a commander management task force to overlook custody and promoted four new commanders, according to his spokesperson. They plan on holding town hall meetings with inmates to ensure they have a voice.

Los Angeles County jails hold between 15,000 and 18,500 inmates with 3,500 Sheriff's deputies who monitor the jails. According to the report, many are "sophisticated or hardened detainees."

The report comes in response to growing allegations of violence against inmates and FBI investigations.



Prison Fight Shows Need for Improved Jail Conditions

Local Jails to House More Serious Offenders

Neon Tommy: ACLU Calls for Sheriff Resignation Over Inmate Abuse Claims


[...] Report: More Than 30 Jailers Punished [...]

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