There was to have been no Board of Supervisors’ meeting this Tuesday, because the Supes were scheduled to take their once-a-year joint trip to Washington DC instead. However, after last week’s LA Times interview with former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka in which Tanaka engaged in what can best be described as a verbal assassination attempt against Sheriff Lee Baca, the majority of the Board—Don Knabe, Gloria Molina, and Mark Ridley-Thomas—cancelled their respective trip plans and decided maybe a meeting was called for after all.
Or at least so we’ve heard. The meeting is to take place behind closed doors, so you and I won’t be able to observe first hand.
The agenda for Tuesday’s hastily planned meeting indicates the subjects up for discussion are “department head performance evaluations,” plus ” Significant exposure to litigation” and “Allegations regarding civil rights violations in the County jails.”
However, sources close to the board suggested that, more than anything, this meeting is about what Tanaka said, what the Feds might or might not be planning to do, what it all portends for the future of the department, and what actions—if any—might soon be required of the Supes given the storm around the LASD that is rapidly quickening.
We’ll let you know as we know more.
VALLEY FEVER FLARES IN CA PRISONS, JUST AS JERRY BROWN TELLS FEDS THAT CA’S PRISON HEALTH SYSTEM IS IN TIP TOP CONDITION
The AP has the story on this largely-hidden epidemic that endangers inmates in certain CA lock-ups. Here’s a clip:
As many as 3,000 prison inmates in central California deemed to be at risk from a potentially lethal lung disease may need to be moved to other regions under an order from a court-appointed federal overseer.
The directive, issued on Monday, marks the latest effort to stem cases of valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis, at two prisons where the disease was found to have contributed to the deaths of nearly three dozen inmates from 2006 to 2011.
But it could complicate court-ordered efforts to reduce overcrowding across California’s prison system, the nation’s largest…
And then here are a couple of clips from a more detailed story by John E. Dannenberg of The Prison Legal News:
In the past three years more than 900 of the 5,300 prisoners at California’s Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) in Fresno County, plus 80 staff members, have contracted coccidioidomycosis, a fungus commonly known as “valley fever.” Over a dozen prisoners and one guard have died from the disease. Valley fever forms in the lungs, where inhaled fungal spores colonize.
The soil-based fungus, which is indigenous from California’s central valley down to South Texas, most often causes symptoms similar to the flu (and in the process confers lifelong immunity); however, in two to three percent of cases it metastasizes. Once it gets into the bloodstream it is often fatal.
Although valley fever has occasionally infected archaeologists digging in Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument and drug-sniffing dogs along the Mexican border, its statistical prevalence in California prisons is troubling. California reported 3,000 cases of valley fever in the general population in 2006, of which 514 were diagnosed at PVSP alone. This 17% morbidity rate among prisoners is astounding. Further, from a mortality standpoint, 12 deaths in 900 prison cases equals a 1.3% fatality rate – double the community rate of 0.6% (based on 33 deaths in 5,500 infections reported in Arizona in 2006). Put another way, if the general population had the same mortality rate as prisoners, there would have been another 38 valley fever-related deaths in the community.
The high infection rate at PVSP (and to a lesser degree at other central valley prisons) has been correlated with two other factors: 1) importation of non-local prisoners and 2) prisoners with compromised immune systems. This has translated into a high rate of serious valley fever cases among HIV-infected prisoners from Los Angeles, many of whom are susceptible under both factors. As a result, prison officials have been preemptively moving such vulnerable prisoners from PVSP to other areas in the state…
YOUTH ADVOCATES HAPPY WITH JUVENILE JUSTICE FUNDING IN OBAMA BUDGET—BUT WILL THOSE SECTIONS PASS?
Youth Today has a column by the very-smart Liz Ryan of the Campaign for Youth Justice about the sections in the president’s budget that youth advocates see as the most crucial—namely the funding it provides for the 40-year old Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) that, in this go-round, focuses on three areas:
1. Keeping “status offenders” from winding up in the juvenile justice system. Status offenders kids who’ve done things that are against the law only because of their age—things like skipping school, running away, breaking curfew and possession or use of alcohol.
2. Getting kids out of adult jails and lock ups, whenever possible
3. Reducing the disparate treatment of youth of color in the juvenile justice system.
Here are the details.
LAPD & LASD LICENSE PLATE READERS KNOW WHERE YOU’VE BEEN, PRIVACY GROUPS SUE FOR INFO ON TRACKING PRACTICE
The idea that law enforcement may be compiling databases on the whereabouts of non-lawbreakers is making a lot of people jumpy, and has caused the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to demand that both the LAPD and the LASD fork over information about how the data is being used.
Here’s a clip from Abdollah’s story:
Two privacy rights groups questioning law enforcement’s use of automated license plate readers asked a judge Monday to order the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to provide more details on how they use the technology.
The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a writ against the city, county and its law enforcement departments after waiting more than eight months for a complete response to public records requests.
The groups are seeking one week of data collected by the readers, which are usually mounted on police cars and scan thousands of license plates in an officer’s shift. The readers – which collect the license plate numbers, the time, date, GPS location and a photo – alert law enforcement to stolen and wanted vehicles.
“If you’re not wanted for anything, it doesn’t do anything,” said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. John Gaw, who works in the advanced surveillance and protection unit. “It does collect that information, it does put it in our database, and we’re able to go back and review that information if you’re wanted in some type of criminal investigation.”
Privacy advocates are worried that about the growth of such law enforcement databases often outside the public’s eye and with little public oversight or information. They say the readers create a database that essentially tracks movements of innocent people, often long before any crime has been committed. But officials contend that the readers are a valuable piece of technology that helps solve crimes and simply speeds up and automates what would have been a slow, painstaking manual process only a few years ago.
Posted in ACLU, Board of Supervisors, Civil Liberties, Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (Jerry), LA County Board of Supervisors, LA County Jail, LAPD, LASD, prison, prison policy, Public Health, Sheriff Lee Baca | 46 Comments »