A civil rights attorney has moved into the Los Angeles County Jail to monitor security and help determine who is responsible for the assaults that have claimed five lives in the last seven months, reports the Los Angeles Times. Rob Miller will have access to sheriff’s deputies, attorneys, chaplains, and members of inmates’ families. “We’re stepping up our level of scrutiny on this particular aspect of the Sheriff’s Department’s business and at this particular location,” Miller said. “There is just no substitute for proximity.”
Miller was sent by Michael Gennaco, a former federal prosecutor who heads the Office of Independent Review, a civilian oversight agency created by the Board of Supervisors in 2001 to monitor the Sheriff’s Department. Gennaco said staff would respond to homicides, suicides, and serious attacks within county jails. Such enhanced oversight in county jails is unusual but not unheard of, said Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer. “Obviously the problems that seem to be affecting the Los Angeles County jails go way beyond civil rights problems and deal with effective monitoring and protecting the safety of inmates,” he said.