I thought I'd post this in case someone needed it.
I live about an hour away; truly sad to see this going on
Riot-hit LA jails transfer inmates to state prisons
Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:53 PM ET
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hundreds of hardened criminals are being moved from riot-plagued Los Angeles County jails to California state prisons after a week of fighting that brought gang warfare from the streets into the jail system.
In a bid to stem the violence that claimed two lives and caused hundreds of injuries despite lock-downs and segregation of blacks and Latinos, more than 200 inmates were sent to state prisons over the weekend. Another 400 will follow later this week.
"These are hardened criminals and such like," said Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore on Monday.
"The county jail system was originally designed for misdemeanors. Now we have more than 4,000 gang members and over 1,000 murderers. That's the jail reality."
A black prisoner died on Sunday at the Men's Central jail in Los Angeles in fighting between Latinos and African-Americans. He was the second inmate to die in brawls along racial lines that broke out 10 days ago and have continued daily among the county's 20,000 inmates.
The riots began when leaders of the Mexican Mafia prison gang ordered Latino inmates to attack blacks in retribution for an attack by a black gang member in Los Angeles, officials said.
"We're seeing and witnessing a racial gang war in the south central Los Angeles community and that gang war has transformed itself into the county jail system," Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca said last week.
Whitmore said about 1,200 violent offenders would be moved next month to the high-security Twin Towers jail in Los Angeles, which houses most inmates in single cells rather than the 200-person dormitories in the facilities worst hit by the riots.
Anti-gang counseling programs aimed at encouraging offenders to turn their lives around are also being introduced in jails, Whitmore said.
African-American community activists said black inmates who have been targeted should be removed immediately to other facilities.
Authorities have tried to quell the violence with tear gas and pellet weapons and have imposed lock-downs that confine inmates to their cells except for essential visits with lawyers and medical emergencies.
They have also imposed racial segregation in some jails, which is permitted only in extraordinary circumstances after a ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court deemed such separations unconstitutional.