[Commission] – The Los Angeles County Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence (CCJV) held a community forum last week to gather input from the public about allegations of violence against inmates in Los Angeles County jails.
The forum, held at The EXPO Center in Exposition park, drew a crowd of nearly 70 community members, who shared their thoughts and experiences in regard to Los Angeles County Jails and alleged use of force by the deputies who staff them, among other issues.
The event was presided over by Commission Chair Hon. Lourdes G. Baird (Ret.), who was joined by Commission Vice Chair Reverend Cecil L. Murray, and Commissioner Alexander Busansky. The Commissioners, part of a seven member group appointed by the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, updated the crowd on the work and focus of the Commission, and provided an overview of their timeline, investigatory process and work to date.
Judge Baird stated, “Yesterday’s community forum is one of a series of activities by the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence – including public hearings, interviews of witnesses and review of documents—designed to gather information and comments from the public and individuals with knowledge about allegations of violence in our jails. Our aim was to listen and collect information that will enhance the Commission’s ability to formulate recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.”
With a mandate to investigate allegations of violence by deputies against inmates in order to provide recommendations for broader, system-wide change, the Commission is tasked by the Supervisors to “restore public confidence in the constitutional operation of our jails.”
For over two hours, a cross-section of over two dozen county residents spoke out and offered perspectives on ways to address violence in the jails. Some spoke of incidents of violence to which they or family members were personally subjected, while others raised concerns about prison realignment. Commissioners reminded the audience that the Commission’s focus is on alleged inappropriate use of force in the jails, and not on other issues or challenges facing the Los Angeles or California jail or criminal justice system. Moreover, Commissioner noted that they do not have the authority to investigate individual cases or individuals acts of wrongdoing; rather, the Commission’s task is to provide broader recommendations for system change and corrective action aimed at addressing allegations of violence against inmates.
“The testimony we heard stressed the urgency and seriousness of this problem and the vast impact violence in our jails has had not simply on those serving time, but on our community as a whole,” stated Miriam Aroni Krinsky, CCJV Executive Director. “Our Commissioners and staff are dedicated individuals who have devoted countless hours to making a difference in our community and charting a new course in regard to these troubling concerns. I look forward to working with the Commissioners and our staff as practical and meaningful recommendations and a final report are crafted.” The commission is expected to issue their findings and recommendations in a report to the Board of Supervisors in Fall 2012.
Other members of the Commission include the Hon. Robert C. Bonner (Ret.), Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell, the Hon. Carlos R. Moreno (Ret.), and the Hon. Dickran M. Tevrizian, Jr (Ret.).
For more information on the Commission visit http://ccjv.lacounty.gov.
The Los Angeles County Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence
The mandate of the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence shall be to conduct a review of the nature, depth and cause of the problem of inappropriate deputy use of force in the jails, and to recommend corrective action as necessary. It shall be the task of the Commission to restore public confidence in the constitutional operation of our jails. For more information on the Commission, please visit: http://ccjv.lacounty.gov/