In response to the findings issued today by the blue-ribbon Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence, Peter Eliasberg, director of the Jails Project of the ACLU of Southern California, issued the following statement:
“This is a devastating account and confirms what we’ve been saying for years: deputies staffing L.A. County jails are out of control and Sheriff Baca has been asleep at the wheel.
Whether he knew about the violence happening in his jails or not is at this point almost immaterial.  The ultimate responsibility still rests with him.  The report confirms, as Baca has claimed, that senior management insulated him from the fact that dangerous, gang-like cliques were operating in the jails, and it blasts Undersheriff Paul Tanaka for encouraging a culture of violence by urging deputies to be aggressive.  But there’s no evidence anywhere that anyone in senior management ever faced any sort of consequences.
Over the past two years, we’ve spoken with hundreds of inmates, as well as prison chaplains and other civilians who all tell eerily similar accounts of deputy-on-inmate violence.  Today, they can feel vindicated in their courage to step forward and tell the truth.  We look forward to the commission’s full report and to hearing its recommendations.”

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