Full coverage: Jails under scrutiny
11:58 PM CDT, April 30, 2013
Paul Tanaka, the Los Angeles County undersheriff accused of fostering a culture of jailhouse abuse, offered a searing critique of his boss Sheriff Lee Baca, calling him a confused and erratic leader who cares more about politics than public safety.
8:10 PM CDT, April 11, 2013
They called it Operation Pandora's Box.
March 20, 2013
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has spent the better part of the last decade debating what to do when they close Men's Central Jail, an aging facility near Union Station that was once described by a federal judge as "not consistent with human values." The supervisors have argued over whether to build new jails to replace it or whether to refurbish existing ones and expand their capacity. Because they've failed to decide, Men's Central has remained open far longer than it should have.
9:00 AM CST, February 25, 2013
STOCKTON -- In 2009, a Sacramento jury convicted Rithy Mam of stalking a 12-year-old girl, shadowing her for months and telling her family he dreamed of her. Three years later, Mam is accused of menacing two other girls, allegedly bribing a toddler with soda and candy to repeatedly slip into their Stockton living room while their parents were out.
6:39 PM CST, November 16, 2012
After a violent confrontation with a teenage suspect, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy took a photo of the man's bloodied face and texted it to Sgt. Eric Gonzalez, a friend who worked at Men's Central Jail.
8:12 PM CDT, October 3, 2012
Bowing to mounting pressure to fix the nation's largest jail system, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca agreed Wednesday to sweeping reforms to improve the management and oversight of his agency amid allegations of deputy brutality against inmates.
September 28, 2012
A blue-ribbon commission blamed Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on Friday for a pattern of excessive force by his deputies in the county jails, warning that Baca is running out of time to fix the problems.
September 24, 2012
Revelations of brutality by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and cover-ups inside the jails have exposed significant shortcomings in the department's civilian watchdog system, which was created to prevent such misconduct.
September 18, 2012
Along with his Taser, baton and handgun, Los Angeles County sheriff's Det. David Huelsen has a new tool for meting out justice: a point-and-shoot camera.
September 17, 2012
Facing severe criticism of his leadership, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca finds himself confronting his toughest political test since he took the helm of the nation's largest sheriff's department nearly 14 years ago.
August 28, 2012
For months, Anthony Brown fooled his jailers into believing that he was just another prisoner inside Men's Central Jail.
August 5, 2012
As part of an elite intelligence team, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies Michael Rathbun and James Sexton turn inmates into informants, looking for tips on crimes and gang activity inside the nation's largest jail system.
July 27, 2012
Under tough questioning, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and his top assistant Friday told a blue-ribbon panel investigating deputy abuse that they failed to uncover problems roiling the nation's largest jail system.
July 11, 2012
It's no secret that the Los Angeles County jails are a mess. The FBI is looking into excessive use of force by sheriff's deputies. Internal affairs is investigating allegations that deputies formed a gang-like clique whose members wore skeleton tattoos. Testimony before the county's new jails commission has painted a picture of a dysfunctional department and a seemingly out of touch Sheriff Lee Baca.
July 7, 2012
The Los Angeles County sheriff's captain who ran the Men's Central Jail fostered a culture of brutality by protecting dishonest deputies and permitting his underlings to use excessive force on inmates, his former lieutenant alleged in testimony Friday.
April 5, 2012
The tiny jail on Catalina Island is hardly Alcatraz. Just ask Frank Carrillo.
July 7, 2012
The young woman sat by herself in a hallway of the bustling courthouse, nervously clasping a brown paper bag. Inside was a warm bean and cheese burrito stuffed with 24 grams of black tar heroin.
December 25, 2011
Hundreds of people have been wrongly imprisoned inside the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department jails in recent years, with some spending weeks behind bars before authorities realized those arrested were mistaken for wanted criminals, a Times investigation has found.
November 6, 2011
Sheriff's Deputies David Aviles and Salvador Esquivel Jr. started their careers as rookies on the "3000 floor" of Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail, a place reserved for the most dangerous inmates.
October 20, 2011
The FBI probe into the Los Angeles County jails has expanded to include allegations of a man who says he was beaten and pepper sprayed by deputies while handcuffed during a visit to see his incarcerated brother.
October 19, 2011
Contending that allegations of prisoner mistreatment have "shattered" public faith in the Los Angeles County jail system, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved on Tuesday an outside oversight committee and measures that could potentially overhaul the sheriff's use-of-force policy.
Letters and reports detailing violence, abuse and use of force at L.A. County jails.
7:55 PM CDT, October 16, 2011
In a searing self-critique, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca acknowledged that he was out of touch about problems in his jails and had failed to implement important reforms that could have minimized deputy brutality against inmates.
October 14, 2011
A code of silence among guards in Los Angeles County jails hinders investigations into abuse complaints, while deputies who report wrongdoing are sometimes subjected to retaliation by colleagues, according to the Sheriff's Department's watchdog.
October 15, 2011
Federal authorities have widened their misconduct investigation into the Los Angeles County jail system, demanding internal Sheriff's Department documents detailing deputies' use of force on inmates over several years, as well as other records.
7:06 PM CDT, October 13, 2011
In the last two years, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials have disciplined more than 30 jail employees for beating inmates or covering up the abuse, according to a report from the agency's watchdog obtained by The Times.
October 11, 2011
Last week, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca lashed out at the FBI investigation into allegations of inmate abuse and deputy misconduct in the county jails and insisted that his department was capable of policing itself. This week, Baca is taking a different and decidedly more conciliatory tone, declaring his willingness to work with federal investigators and promising to conduct a top-to-bottom review, including opening old cases.
10:00 PM CDT, October 9, 2011
Amid mounting scrutiny of deputy brutality in his jails, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca released a plan Sunday promising to reexamine allegations of abuse from the past and improve inmate safety in the future.
7:44 PM CDT, October 8, 2011
A former sheriff's deputy at the center of an FBI probe inside the L.A. County jail system implicated himself and other jail employees in four cases of improper force against inmates, according to a letter written by Sheriff Lee Baca.
12:17 PM CDT, October 7, 2011
How bad does it have to get at L.A. County's jails before Sheriff Lee Baca is either pushed into stepping aside, at least temporarily, or has the integrity to volunteer for a leave of absence?
9:49 PM CDT, October 7, 2011
Los Angeles County sheriff's officials are investigating the sudden death Thursday of a jail inmate who had been punched in the head by a deputy two days earlier.
9:58 PM CDT, October 7, 2011
Sheriff Lee Baca said he would welcome a comprehensive federal civil rights investigation into the Los Angeles County jail system, a significant reversal after a week of harshly criticizing FBI inquiries into allegations of deputy misconduct.
October 7, 2011
A Los Angeles County sheriff's rookie who graduated at the top of his recruit class resigned after only a few weeks on the job, alleging that a supervisor made him beat up a mentally ill jail inmate, according to interviews and law enforcement records.
October 2, 2011
Los Angeles County jail inmates have used corrupt guards to penetrate tight security at lockups, helping fuel a lucrative drug trade behind bars, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Times.
October 1, 2011
More than 100 prisoners, many shaved and tattooed, crowded into the hard pews of the Men's Central Jail chapel and craned their necks to get a good look at "The Man."
October 1, 2011
Thousands of felons who would be sentenced to state prison are about to be funneled into county jails — a money-saving measure for cash-starved California, and a headache for local law enforcement agencies.
September 29, 2011
This week, The Times' Robert Faturechi reported that the FBI is investigating allegations of brutality and misconduct on the part of Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in the jails.
September 29, 2011
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, responding to federal investigations of jailhouse abuse, for the first time offered a detailed account of an FBI undercover sting that caught one of his deputies allegedly smuggling a cellphone to an inmate.
September 28, 2011
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies brutalized inmates on multiple occasions and their supervisors failed to take complaints of the abuse seriously, according to sworn declarations from two chaplains and a Hollywood producer who volunteered in the jails.
September 27, 2011
FBI agents probing misconduct allegations in the L.A. County Jail orchestrated an undercover sting in which they paid about $1,500 to a sheriff's deputy to smuggle a cellphone to an inmate, sources said.
September 25, 2011
Federal authorities are investigating allegations of inmate beatings and other misconduct by deputies in Los Angeles County jails, with FBI agents going so far as to sneak a cellphone to an inmate to get reports from inside, according to law enforcement sources.
July 19, 2011
Several Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies have been entangled in fraud allegations in the last year, a spike that the department's watchdog says may be linked to overtime cuts pushing cash-strapped deputies to commit crimes.
June 14, 2011
The FBI is investigating allegations that two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies knocked an inmate unconscious, beat him for two minutes and then tried to cover up their conduct, authorities confirmed Monday.
May 22, 2011
The North Facility of Pitchess Detention Center was once home to some 1,600 men. Now it holds just two.
April 18, 2011
Despite a judge's order, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has refused to allow an attorney to take photographs of a client he said was beaten so badly by jail deputies that he was unrecognizable.
March 27, 2011
A Los Angeles County jail inmate who expressed concerns about his safety was strangled in his cell weeks after a judge asked that sheriff's officials reevaluate the man's custody arrangements, according to court records and interviews.
March 23, 2011
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has begun termination proceedings against six deputies who were part of what officials are describing as an aggressive group that may have used gang-like hand signs to identify themselves before allegedly assaulting two fellow deputies at a Christmas party last year.
February 8, 2011
A civilian jail monitor said she witnessed two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies treat an inmate like "a punching bag," unjustifiably beating him as he lay unconscious for at least two minutes, according to a court declaration filed Monday by the ACLU.
December 16, 2010
A Christmas party for Men's Central Jail employees turned ugly when a brawl broke out that resulted in seven Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies being relieved of duty, officials confirmed.
October 24, 2010
The allegations were serious: A group of Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies escorted an inmate to a secluded spot in Men's Central Jail, beat him, pulled down his boxers and pepper-sprayed his anus and groin.
September 30, 2010
Three former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies accused of punching and kicking a jail inmate in 2006 were convicted of assault charges Wednesday.
August 26, 2010
The alleged attack inside the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles began with a simple request for a clean shirt.
August 9, 2010
The inmate's request seemed fairly benign inside the teeming, violent Los Angeles County jail. He wanted Sheriff's Deputy Peter Paul Felix to smuggle him in some decent food.
July 22, 2010
Sheriff's officials are calling it "scannergate," a scandal at the L.A. County Jail brought to light by an inmate's suicide.
July 5, 2010
Jail-issued mattresses and blankets designed to prevent suicides have failed to meet their safety goals, as several Los Angeles County inmates have been able to fashion nooses from their bedding.
May 13, 2010
Aging metal detectors at Los Angeles County's Men's Central Jail frequently break down, posing safety concerns for deputies who routinely confiscate weapons that inmates make from scrap metal, sheriff's officials said.
April 18, 2010
"Eyes closed, heads down. Focus on your breathing." The men in the sanctuary obediently followed their Buddhist chaplain's command, bowing their cleanly shaven heads and beginning their meditation ex
April 5, 2010
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has quietly filed assault charges against three sheriff's deputies accused of punching and kicking a jail inmate after he was disrespectful to a guard, according to court records.