LA Justice Report to Launch Investigation into County Jails

The LA Justice Report,” an investigative collaboration between and Witness LA, has announced it will launch a prolonged investigation into the “culture of fear and violence” in the LA County Jail system.

Witness LA founder and Justice Report editor Celeste Fremon explains:

In May of 2010 the Southern California ACLU released a 64-page report charging that Los Angeles County’s Men’s Central Jail was fostering what they described as a “culture of violence and fear,” in which certain guards routinely beat and otherwise physically abused prisoners— sometimes to the point of severe injury.  If inmates tried to report the mistreatment, said the report, those same deputies threatened them with physical harm.

Meanwhile, the ACLU jail monitors personally observed injuries ranging from broken ribs, black eyes and boot marks on inmates’ backs to severe head wounds.

The report also detailed incidents of inmate-on-inmate violence, some resulting in serious injury that the deputies failed to stop, actively facilitated—or, in some cases, “orchestrated.”

After the ACLU document was released, Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the LA County Sheriff’s Department, rejected the charges. “That allegation, absolutely false,” Whitmore told KPCC’s Frank Stoltze.

O WHAT IS THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER?  Is the LA County jail system really that bad?

We feel it is important to find out.

As with the Justice Report’s previous stories on LA’s GRYD program, yours truly will be the lead reporter.