An investigation by McClatchy and ProPublica found unchecked violence and inhumane conditions in county jails, but the state’s oversight agency has no power to stop it. Experts say that needs to change.
California has given counties more than $8 billion to handle thousands of new inmates. But lax spending rules and limited scrutiny have allowed some sheriffs to use that money for other things, which may violate state law.
Gov. Gavin Newsom wants the state to have more power to scrutinize local jails. This comes after a McClatchy and ProPublica investigation found the agency meant to oversee the jails is toothless and that some jail conditions are inhumane.
The Kern County, CA Sheriff’s Office places hundreds of people into suicide watch each year. They’re held for days or weeks in rooms without mattresses and sometimes toilets. The state can’t stop it.
Lorenzo Herrera, 19, was found dead in a Fresno County Jail cell in March 2018. A man has been charged, but detectives say they’re still trying to determine if there are additional suspects.
Sixty-five jail construction projects, totaling $2.1 billion, were awarded funds since realignment. Only 11 have opened. Meanwhile, dangerous jails have become more deadly.
Some California county jails saw their rate of inmate-on-inmate homicides triple or quadruple, and statewide the number rose 46% after 2011 prison reforms shifted responsibility from state prisons to county lockups. As sheriffs and jail staffs strain, some inmate crimes go undetected for hours.
In a 48-hour stretch during January 2018, three men were booked into the Fresno County Jail. One was beaten into a coma. Two died soon afterward. Their cases kicked off a nightmarish year in a local jail where problems trace back to California’s sweeping 2011 prison downsizing and criminal justice reforms.
Court records and FBI Lab files show statements by prosecutors or Richard Vorder Bruegge, the most prominent member of the Forensic Audio, Video and Image Analysis Unit, veered from his original conclusions in at least three cases.
ProPublica and The Sacramento Bee are spending the year reporting on resources, safety and crowding in California county jails.
The bureau’s image unit has linked defendants to crime photographs for decades using unproven techniques and baseless statistics. Studies have begun to raise doubts about the unit’s methods.
Bud Frazier, a pioneer in the development of artificial hearts, filed a libel suit alleging he was “falsely” portrayed in two articles exploring alleged lapses in research and ethical practices.
When the justices err, care is taken not to call attention to the mishaps. Some think that’s its own mistake.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission helped send more people to prison for longer terms. It’s a shame it was created to address a nonexistent crisis. Here’s how the Supreme Court got misled.
A ProPublica review adds fuel to a longstanding worry about the nation’s highest court: The justices can botch the truth, sometimes in cases of great import.
Trump hailed Joe Arpaio’s “admirable service” in Arizona. There’s more to his career than that.
The former Maricopa County sheriff made his name in part by targeting immigrants — even after a judge ordered him to stop. As President Trump considers a pardon, it’s worth remembering precisely what Arpaio did in his decades in law enforcement.
The cheap kits were often the sole evidence used to win guilty pleas, against the innocent as well the as guilty.
A recent study on the reliability of hair analysis is only latest to shake public confidence.
A lawsuit in the 1990s had Alabama poised to fund poor black school districts as fairly as wealthy white schools. As state attorney general, Sessions fought the effort passionately.