Feds Want Court Oversight of L.A. Jails

After suicides at Los Angeles County jails more than doubled between 2012 and 2013, the Department of Justice announced Friday that it is seeking court oversight of how the sheriff department treats inmates. A Justice Department report cited “deplorable” conditions in the prisons (they are “dimly lit, vermin-infested, noisy, unsanitary, cramped and crowded”) and said that some of the deaths might have been prevented with better monitoring. County officials, meanwhile, defended their treatment of mentally ill inmates. “We are disappointed that today’s report fails to fully recognize the additional progress made over the last year and a half to improve mental health services,” the sheriff's department said in a statement. “The report also mischaracterizes and significantly understates the incredible efforts made to improve our suicide prevention practices.”