Five months after a federal judge called conditions in L.A. County jails "inconsistent with basic human values," the ACLU of Southern California exposed fresh evidence of overcrowding and filthy conditions.
This week, Judge Dean D. Pregerson wrote that the central processing hub for the seven-facility L.A. County jail system has "defaulted to the lowest permissible standard of care" and ordered strict new measures to correct the situation.
According to eye-witness accounts and more than two dozen statements collected by the ACLU/SC, hundreds of men arraigned but not convicted of any offense have been held at the Inmate Reception Center for as long as four days in unspeakable conditions.
ACLU/SC jail monitors found that "thirty to forty men are being crammed into holding cells so small that they must take turns lying down on the hard filthy floor." They are held "without regular meals and with no access to showers, beds or mattresses."
Judge Pregerson prohibited the Sheriff's Department from holding more than 20 inmates for more than 24 hours in small holding cells at the Inmate Reception Center.
"Inmates should not be stripped of the bare requisites of dignity and decency," said ACLU/SC legal director Mark Rosenbaum.