L.A. County Jailers Use Force More Frequently on Mentally Ill Inmates
Jailers in Los Angeles County are more likely to use force against inmates with mental health conditions than inmates without such conditions, according to a report by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca recently presented the report to county supervisors in response to concerns about conditions for inmates.
Federal officials also are investigating allegations of deputy misconduct and use of excessive force.
According to the report, about one-third of 582 incidents involving the use of force in the jail system last year involved inmates who had histories of mental health conditions. About 15% of the system's 15,000 inmates are classified as having mental health conditions, the Times reports.
The report noted that from October to December of last year, jailers used force 107 times, compared with 155 times in the previous three months.
Expert Weighs In
David Bennett, a criminal justice consultant, said that many inmates with mental health conditions do not belong in jail and that they are incarcerated because of behaviors associated with their conditions.
Bennett said that once in jail, individuals with mental health conditions might act in ways that could cause jailers to use force.
Baca said he has added more deputies who have been trained to use non-violent methods toÂ resolve issues with inmatesÂ who haveÂ mental conditions. He also said he wanted to increase the number of mental health workers in the jail system.
Baca added that jails need more funds to help prevent force from being used against inmates with mental health conditions (Leonard/Faturechi, Los Angeles Times, 1/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.