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On Tuesday, Rosas settlement compelled the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (LACBOS) to employ independent monitoring staff that will supervise almost all its county jail-related operations. The settlement was reached after three years of deputy abuse against the inmates in LA County jails.
After the trail, two sheriffs resigned, seven deputies were imprisoned for obstruction of justice, FBI started a federal investigation and Jim McDonnell, former Long-Beach chief of police, was elected as Sheriff of LA County.
The settlement will have huge implications for the department. One of these implications is a new list of policy directives on LACBOS that includes better training for deputies, complaint tracking, staffing and better timing in using force within a county jail. The new policies aim at changing the issues that encouraged inmate abuses to prevent similar events from reoccurring.
The Department of Justice is not linked in any way with the Rosas settlement, but the latter is expected to act as a consent degree similar to a degree used by the LAPD to operate for more than 10 years.
The court appointed three monitors that will make sure that all those measures are becoming reality – Richard Drooyan, Robert P. Houston and Jeffrey A. Schwartz. Mr. Drooyan was also chief counsel to the jail violence commission.
These measures are meant to protect inmates against deputy violence and fair deputies from LACBOS’ abuses. It should also bring some savings by cutting down damage awards expenses. All in all, the court expects the directives to improve inmate life inside LA County jails.
Rosas case is very similar to a lawsuit that happened about 40 years ago, Rutherford case. Back then, many promises were made that jail conditions would improve, but they were soon broken. This means that is not enough to detect problems and just promise to find a solution.
Also twenty years ago, LACBOS appointed judge G.Kolts to investigate a series of deputy shootings of black suspects. Mr. Kolts found many problems similar to the ones cited in the Rosas case.
Some other measures aimed at improving conditions inside LA County Jails include a stricter public control over the Sheriff’s Department, sending the mentally ill inmates to treatment facilities, keeping the inmate population to a minimum and improving overall imprisonment conditions.
Besides Rutherford and Rosas settlements, there are also several acts that point at improving LA county jail conditions such as a settlement that showed the county provided inadequate jail conditions for inmate with physical disabilities and a consent degree at the Department of Justice over improper jail condition for mentally ill convicts.
Image Source: Los Angeles Times