SUPES RIDLEY-THOMAS AND MOLINA CALL FOR PERMANENT LASD OVERSIGHT COMMISSION
LA County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina are calling for a permanent LASD citizens oversight commission in light of the newest DOJ investigation into allegations of abuse in Los Angeles County jails that was announced last week.
If passed by the board on Tuesday, (WLA hopes it will be) the motion will require each supervisor to choose one commissioner by Oct. 15.
Here’s a clip from the announcement from MRT’s office:
The latest probe into the county jails, which will focus specifically on the treatment of mentally ill inmates, significantly expands the federal government’s ongoing investigations into the jails. A criminal investigation into allegations of excessive force and other wrongdoing has been underway since 2011. Similar concerns about use of force and abuse by jail deputies are also the centerpiece of the civil probe.
“The seriousness of this new investigation and the allegations of abuse that prompted it cannot be ignored,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “The sheriff’s department has long required a level of scrutiny that has been missing, and although the board only controls it’s budget, the department is there to serve the citizens of L.A. County, and that’s who should have greater oversight.”
“Transparency, without question, is needed to ensure that there is proper oversight of the sheriff’s department,” said Supervisor Molina. “A sheriff’s department oversight commission is the best vehicle to ensure accountability.”
FORMER CALIFORNIA PRISON INMATE GETS OVER HALF A MILLION FOR LOST EYE
Frank Lucero, a former inmate at the California state prison at Chino, has received $585K by the state for the loss of his eye due to alleged inadequate medical treatment while incarcerated.
The LA Times’ Paige St. John has the story. Here’s a clip:
Frank Lucero was in the state prison at Chino in 2008 for a parole violation when pressure inside his eye, which was stricken with glaucoma, caused the cornea burst. He alleged that prison officials had taken away his pressure-relieving medication and had failed to send him to see an eye doctor despite growing pain.
After the cornea burst, Lucero was taken to an outside hospital, but returned again to the prison for two weeks before surgeons removed the eye as well as connective tissue he would have needed for a transplant. Lucero now wears a prosthetic eye in the empty socket. He finished his prison term and now lives in Arizona, his lawyer said.
Lucero sued the state corrections department, alleging a violation of his civil rights, as well as the court-appointed agency put in charge of prison medical services after judges ruled that California’s care was so poor it was responsible for unnecessary deaths.
And, in case you missed it: Gov. Jerry Brown signed the prison population reduction compromise bill Thursday. (You can go read about it over on the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert blog.)
ALTERNATIVES TO “ZERO TOLERANCE” DISCIPLINES FOR TEENAGE ALCOHOL AND DRUG USE
Marsha Rosenbaum, director emerita of the San Francisco office of the Drug Policy Alliance and author of Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs, in a piece for the Huffington Post, says that “Zero Tolerance” discipline in schools needs to be replaced with counseling and “restorative” alternatives to suspensions and expulsions, along with better, and more relevant drug education. Rosenbaum also sites examples of schools having retooled their approach to discipline with measurable success.
Here’s a clip from the Huffpost article:
Last year, the annual federally-sponsored Monitoring the Future survey indicated that 45 percent of students — nationwide — had used marijuana by the time they had graduated from high school, and nearly one-quarter had used another illegal drug. Many more (69 percent) had used alcohol. The struggle to determine what schools and families can do about it persists.
Despite more than four decades of lecture-style, abstinence-only, drug education programs — replete with messages designed to frighten students and backed up with “zero tolerance” punishment — the use of alcohol and marijuana is common among high school students, and most young people accept it as part of teenage social life.
So what can be done?
In his new, updated booklet, Beyond Zero Tolerance: A Reality-Based Approach to Drug Education and School Discipline, UCLA Professor Emeritus Rodney Skager urges educators to take a critical look at prevention programs and recommends honest, science based drug education content.
When schools choose to move “beyond zero tolerance” in handling school discipline, they stop merely reacting to student misconduct — and can begin to address its root causes. As Pennsylvania middle school principal Ed Baumgartner said:
“I’ve had an epiphany, a metamorphosis. I used to be one of these black and white, law-and-order guys. Kids had to be held accountable, and the only way to do that was to kick them out of school — to show the other kids that you’re the boss. That doesn’t work. I didn’t solve problems, I just postponed them… and then somebody else had to deal with them. Restorative practices work. We now fix and solve problems.”
Drug education motivated by fear and lacking in credibility weakens young people’s confidence in law enforcement, parents, teachers and other adults. Whether at home or at school, we need reality-based approaches to drug education that foster open, honest dialogue about the potential risks and consequences of drug use. Teens need drug education that respects their intelligence and gives them the tools to stay safe and healthy.