The number of inmates who escape from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department custody has doubled in two years, says the Los Angeles Times. Prosecutors are alarmed that officials have no formal policy to notify them when an inmate gets away. Sheriff’s officials say that the escapes – 20 this year – are not a crisis given that the department handles up to 20,000 inmates a day. An independent monitor said the escapes, along with an additional 23 inmates released by accident and continued killings of inmates in jails, are evidence that the department has trouble maintaining control of its huge inmate population.
Four of this year’s escapees remain at large, including one who allegedly stole another inmate’s wristband in a courthouse holding area and stepped into a line of inmates due for release the same day. District Attorney Steve Cooley doesn’t know how many times the sheriff has failed to alert him that an inmate escaped. Cooley said he learned of one escape from a radio news show. The sheriff’s department plans to add prosecutors to the list of people who are informed of escapes.