The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is under growing criticism for its ineffectiveness in halting violence in jails that has left two inmates dead and more than 100 injured during nine days of racially charged fighting, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sheriff Lee Baca sayst the worst of the violence is. Baca’s management of the jail system came under increased criticism from several directions. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who has been a strong supporter of the sheriff, called the disturbances “a breakdown in management.” He said the department should have done more to protect blacks, who have been the predominant victims of the attacks. Antonovich was particularly critical of the practice of housing high-security inmates in dormitories, rather than in secure cells.
Merrick Bobb, who monitors the Sheriff’s Department for the Board of Supervisors, said he believed that the department “lacks an ability to plan for known risks and contingencies.” Once violence first broke out at one detention Center on Feb. 4, the department should have moved quickly to transfer the most violent inmates – those ranked either level 8 or level 9 security risks – out of dormitories and into secure cells, he said. About 3,400 of the jails’ roughly 17,000 inmates are ranked level 8 or 9.