Overcrowding at the Los Angeles County Jails has been an issue for years. In this photo, Sheriff Lee Baca talks with reporters as he leads a tour inside the Men's Central Jail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, Wednesday, May 19, 2004. At that time, he faced criticism over a spate of deaths in the country's largest jail.
Amid a brewing investigation by the FBI into systemic abuse and misconduct by guards in Los Angeles County jails, Sheriff Lee Baca admits he was out of touch.
Citing poor communication from his command staff and his own failure to implement important reforms that could have minimized brutality, such as video cameras, Baca told the Los Angeles Times “I wasn’t ignoring the jails. I just didn’t know.” Patt talks with members of the team that investigated the abuse on behalf of the LA Times as well as the county office of Independent Review and the ACLU into just what went wrong, what is spells for Baca’s career, and how it can be prevented in the future.
Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department reporter, Los Angeles Times
Aaron Walz, former inmate, Men’s Central Jail
Michael Gennaco, chief attorney, L.A. County Office of Independent Review
Peter Eliasberg, legal director, ACLU of Southern California
Read more about the investigation of jails and Baca's supporters here.