California Sent $8 Billion to Counties to Improve Jails and Services But Failed to Track the Money, Says Auditor
The audit, requested following a surge of jail deaths reported on by The Sacramento Bee and ProPublica, found that county and state officials failed to adequately account for billions in spending.
After an investigation by McClatchy and ProPublica, a state oversight agency is proposing tougher scrutiny and consequences for dangerous conditions in California’s county jails.
ProPublica and The Sacramento Bee have been reporting on conditions in California county jails. We’ve heard from more than 100 people about their experiences inside and want to share what they know.
After an investigation by McClatchy and ProPublica, Gov. Gavin Newsom submitted a budget that would give more authority to the board that oversees jails.
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 Gave Billions in Taxpayer Dollars to Improve Jails. But That’s Not How These Sheriffs Are Spending It.
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.
A corrections overhaul sent thousands of inmates to local jails, where some advocates say conditions can be “subhuman.” A panel at Stanford Law School examined potential solutions.
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.
A condensed timeline featuring Pumping Iron, “realignment” and other attempts at prison reform.
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.
ProPublica and The Sacramento Bee are spending the year reporting on resources, safety and crowding in California county jails.