LA County Jail LASD

Report: Inconsistencies in LASD Data Reporting on Jail Violence

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has a data-tracking (and reporting) problem, according to an LA County Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit released Tuesday.

In a quarterly report, the OIG—which is headed by Max Huntsman, and monitors the LASD’s progress toward systemic reform—collects and releases data on several types of jail violence: officers’ uses-of-force on inmates, inmates’ assaults on staff, and inmate-on-inmate violence.

The OIG launched a review of this data after inconsistencies emerged between jail violence numbers reported to the OIG and data that the sheriff’s department shared with the LA Times.

In February of 2017, the department released data—supposedly some of the same data reported to the OIG—to the LA Times.

Two months later, in April, the LASD notified the OIG that the data shared with the Times and the OIG was inaccurate.

For 2016, the department reported a total of 3354 inmate-on-inmate assaults to the Times, 3716 to the OIG, 3371 to the department’s own “Monthly Book,” and 3500 to the Sheriff’s Critical Incident Forum (SCIF). “The SCIF, in particular, is an important assessment tool used by department executives to identify and remedy systemic deficiencies related to force, violence and other jail operations,” Huntsman said in his report. “As such, the accuracy and consistency of the data presented is integral to the overall effectiveness of the SCIF process, prisoner welfare, and Departmental strategic planning.”

There were also differences in numbers reported for inmate-on-staff assault occurring in 2015. The department reported a total of 382 assaults to the Monthly Book, compared with 464 to the OIG—a variation of 17.7%.

For 2016, the LASD reported to both the OIG and the Monthly Book 1833 instances of deputies using force on inmates, but reported 1849 use-of-force incidents to SCIF.

According to the OIG audit, the errors can be traced back to the sheriff’s department’s data reporting systems. The department tracks jail violence data in several databases, which overlap and are not reconciled with each other.

Moreover, the criteria for data reporting to these spreadsheets are not uniform across the county’s jails.

In his report, Hunstman recommended that a single unit be responsible for gathering, reconciling, and verifying all data on violence within the jails. He also urged the department to create a Facility Tracker spreadsheet template to be used by all units to track uses of force with “a baseline set of tracked data elements..standardized across all facilities.”

Upon learning of the conflicting jail data, LASD Sheriff Jim McDonnell ordered the Audit and Accountability Bureau to investigate the issue. “This review revealed the multiple database systems that were developed over time within Custody that served as the jail data management system,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement. “This is the by-product of a lack of investment over long periods of time by past administrations and other funding priorities by the County due to numerous budget mandates facing the LASD.”

The department’s new administrative leaders are “focusing on technology planning and investment in the Department’s technology infrastructure,” the statement said. “The Sheriffs new Chief Fiscal and Administrative Officer (CFAO) is advocating for technology upgrades in the face of many budget mandates, which was not always the case in past years.”

Huntsman’s audit is an item on the LA County Board of Supervisors’ agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting.

8 Comments

  • Like Mark Twain said, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” No one is complaining that there were four hundred (or more) assaults on staff or that they seem to be increasing. Who cares about that! (No wonder the recruitment of deputy sheriffs is down and continues to fall.) The complaint is that the department’s tracking systems vary slightly from one another. What do you expect from multiple 30-year-old (or older) technologies? Yet buckets of money are spent on brass snaps (car decals, etc.) instead? Sounds like a leadership and prioritization problem to me. Deputies are now having to buy their own body cameras since the department will not believe them if a complaint is generated but then the department whines about it when the story makes the media. These technology problems have been around for years and yet they are still ignored by the brass. Things will continue to get worse. I hope the department will start caring about its deputies instead of using them as pawns. I have my doubts though. I’m glad I no longer have to suffer under that incompetence.

    • You are absolutely right, “Fresh Eyes McBuckles” and his regime, only care about superficial, optical aspects affecting the department. He only speaks well of a dead deputy, and looks with suspicion at the ones who continue alive placing their lifes and careers on the line. There are currently many cases in which a complaint was turned into a nightmare for a working deputy. Under his watchful ‘fresh eyes” he has condoned the fabrication of cases by his regulators ICIB against deputies. The sad part is that it appears the LA DA is on his payroll as well. No wonder the LADA was named as one of the most corrupt prosecutorial agencies in a recent report posted here on WitnessLA.

  • The problem can be traced to the early Baca/Stonich/Waldie days when they shit-canned all the work that the previous administration did in “Risk Management”. They were not interested in the nuts and bolts of actually running the internal workings of the Department and such things as statistical gathering and analyzation, which were IN PLACE, were allowed to wither on the vine and die. McBuckles inherited a mess, but I don’t think he, likewise, has much interest in such mundane matters until it hits the press. Losers, following losers.

    • The issue with Mc is the issue with most top executives. They rely on others with Stars and Bars for advice and as a sounding board. Those stars and bars will tell Mc what he wants to hear to protect themselves. Too many bars and stars so “no” to new ideas and they never go up the chain.

  • ALADS and PPOA……..time for the vote of “No confidence” in Jim McDonnell. He is a disaster and has surrounded himself with other disasters.

    • Don’t fool yourself. ALADS cannot vote for a “No confidence” when they’re in the same boat. Funny how ALADS does an annual “Captain’s Ratings” when they (ALADS) don’t do one for themselves. Just like old times, no accountaibilty for spending to membership.

    • I know that it is wishful thinking, but as long as they’re two unions (LASPA & ALADS) for deputies, any outsider running for Sheriff will have the edge as opposed to someone in the LASD family. When I come to my senses, I realize why other deputies gladly left ALADS.

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