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On June 6, 1996, the United States Department of Justice notified Los Angeles County Executive, Joanne Sturges, that it intended to investigate conditions in the Los Angeles County Jail system pursuant to the Civil Rights of the Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. The investigation found that the jail was failing to provide care meeting constitutional standards to mentally ill inmates.
A report summarizing the Department's findings was sent to Sturges on September 5, 1997. The report noted problems within the system, including the following:
Inmates entering the system were not adequately screened for mental illnesses. Officials relied on inmate self reporting and did not train staff to identify mentally ill inmates.
Inmates who were screened as mentally ill were not receiving evaluations for several days and prescription medications were taken from them.
General population inmates were not referred to a mental health professional until they reached crisis level.
Some mentally ill inmates were placed in twenty-three hour lockdown in inadequate housing, without access to activities and services available to other inmates, exacerbating their illnesses.
Some facilities for the mentally ill were dirty, dark, and crowded.
Suicide prevention procedures were inadequate, resulting in an increase in suicides within the previous years.
Mentally ill inmates faced a high risk of physical abuse or other mistreatment at the hands of other inmates or staff.
The report included a list of recommended remedial measures addressing the screening and treating of mentally ill inmates. The recommendations also included providing adequate and sanitary conditions for mentally ill inmates, providing access to recreation and other privileges, and promptly investigating reports of mistreatment or abuse of mentally ill prisoners. Other recommendations addressed record-keeping systems and suicide watch procedures.
On December 19, 2002, the parties reached a Memorandum of Agreement that required adequate mental health care and suicide and prevention at the Los Angeles County Jail System.
On June 4, 2014, the DOJ issued a letter stating that, since the entry of the Memorandum of Agreement twelve years ago, there had been significant improvement in the delivery of mental health services. However, serious systemic deficiencies remained with regard to some aspects of the Jails' mental health program.
As of April 18, 2015, we have no further information regarding this case.
Angela Heverling (2/13/2006)
Jessica Kincaid (4/18/2015)
Birotte, Andre Jr. (California)
Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
Eichner, James (District of Columbia)
Brazile, Kevin C. (California)
Kim, Beong-Soo (California)
Last updated Aug. 30, 2023, 1:47 p.m.Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
State / Territory: California
Case Ongoing: Yes
Department of Justice
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Not sought
Causes of Action:
Special Case Type(s):
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Order Duration: 2002 - 0
Jails, Prisons, Detention Centers, and Other Institutions:
Affected Sex or Gender:
Type of Facility: