L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca announced on Wednesday that he would agree to implement all reforms recommended by the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence, including expanding civilian oversight, establishing a corrections division, and increasing oversight of jail deputies.
The Sheriff’s announcement could mark a major milestone in an effort to reform the County’s jail system. In the last year, allegations and investigations into abuse and violence in the jail marred not only the public perception of the lockup, but tarnished Baca’s reputation.
In a press conference held inside the Men’s Central Jail that appeared to be the epicenter of the department’s dysfunction, Baca said that the recommendations that came from the CCJV couldn’t have been written any better, and when fully implemented they would make the jail stronger and safer.
Office of Inspector General – This new, civilian watchdog group will have the authority to launch investigations and scrutinize the Sheriff’s department. The scope of the OIG authority will not be limited to just jail operations, they will have the ability to involve themselves in all aspects of the department,
Jail Personnel – Currently, all Sheriff’s Deputies must serve the first few years of their career in the jail, before moving to the streets. The Sheriff will create a new division of corrections to create a career path for Deputies – allowing them to gain experience and a future in the jail. Furthermore, jail supervisors will be increased, and will be sent into the jails to directly oversee operations more frequently.
Shifting Personnel – Sheriff Baca’s new organizational structure will shift embattled Undersheriff Paul Tanaka from oversight in the jail to a more administrative role.
Investigations and Punishments – Discipline for erring deputies has been strengthened, with dishonesty resulting in dismissal instead of suspension.
Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.