Crime & Justice

LA County Sheriff Baca introduces prison reform plan

Sheriff Baca of Los Angeles County, California.
Sheriff Baca of Los Angeles County, California.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

As federal investigations continue into allegations of prison abuse in Los Angeles County jails, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca has developed a plan for change in the way his jail network is run.

The beleaguered sheriff, who has come under fire in recent weeks over claims that deputies abused inmates, says he is reviewing the practice of rotating every new deputy through the jails before they are allowed on patrol.

He says some deputies may prefer to work exclusively in the jails while others might rather pass on the assignment. He has blamed deputy frustration for contributing to violence against inmates.

The Los Angeles Times says Baca has created a 35-person special investigation task force to reexamine previous allegations of abuse, some of which had been resolved with no foul play discovered.

Although there is no estimate on the costs of this complete prison overhaul, Baca told the Times, "I have to do it whether or not I have the money to do it."

According to NBC LA, last weekend Baca also promoted three captains to commanders and assigned them to oversee the conditions in L.A. jails.

These leaders will use meetings with inmates to ensure that their needs as prisoners are being met. This includes food, shelter and adequate medical and mental health coverage, NBC LA says.

Baca says he also plans on establishing a new citizens group to oversee any overhauls to the jails.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.