October 20, 2022 By Paul Wallin

You Do Not Want to Be an Inmate in the LA County Jail According to an ACLU Lawsuit

Poor Conditions for Inmates in LA County Jail  

Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against LA County, alleging inhumane conditions in the county jail that leave defendants unfit to stand trial. As found in a recent investigation, inmates at the Inmate Reception Center are routinely subject to overcrowding, inhumane practices, unhygienic conditions, and a lack of access to medical and mental health care. In fact, some inmates who have mental health issues or suicidal ideations are chained and left to sit on benches for days at a time. 

Additionally, the ACLU alleges that the Inmate Reception Center is not suited for living. The center does not have beds or even mattresses and bedding for people to sleep. The inmates staying there sleep on concrete floors for days at a time. In a recent case, a judge found the defendant was unable to stay awake at his hearing and ultimately dismissed the charges against him. While the center is meant to be a place for inmates to be processed into the county jail, many are not actually getting transported out of the center to their arraignments. As a result, the arraignments are delayed, causing a crisis for LA’s criminal court system. 

LA County Sued Over Inmates Missing Court Dates 

While prosecutors blame the lack of funds resulting in a shortage of deputy DAs and defenders, others say that inmates just refuse to go to court. Many county line prosecutors have blamed District Attorney George Gascón for catering to the inmates. They believe that inmates know nothing will happen to them if they do not show up to court, and that there are few consequences for these defendants. 

The ACLU, however, is not convinced. It believes that there is a direct causation between the poor conditions in the center and the increase in missed court appearances by inmates. ACLU head counsel Peter Eliasberg argues that LA County can’t manage a jail system of such a size. He believes that until the population of inmates, especially those with serious mental illnesses, is reduced, the problems will continue. As such, the ACLU has filed suit, specifically seeking a restraining order against Sheriff Alex Villanueva for how he handles the jail. 

With public defender protests over caseloads, court reporter shortages, and case backlogs, it is clear that something needs to be done regarding the overcrowding in the LA County jail. By promoting better conditions at the Inmate Reception Center, inmates will be more likely to appear on time to their court hearings, thereby easing the strain on the LA County court system. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you or your loved ones have missed a court hearing due to poor conditions in LA County jail, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients clear their names and restore their reputations, and we have the skills and resources to help you as well. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. 

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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