Stop Deputy-on-Inmate Abuse in the LA County Jails

Inmate AbuseTake Action on Civilian Oversight of the Sheriff’s Department

Justice Not Jails has been a full participant in the three-year effort by the Dignity & Power Now coalition to win effective civilian oversight of the nation’s largest local law enforcement agency: the one that administers the nation’s largest and most abusive local jail system.

People often think that New York’s Riker’s Island is really bad, or that Chicago’s Cook County Jail is a total horror show. But the documented history makes it clear that LA County jails are the worst of all when it comes to inmates being abused at the hands of their supposed guardians. With his former deputy Paul Tanaka already convicted and sentenced, Lee Baca is desperately trying to explain to a judge why he should not do hard time himself for allowing these conditions to fester under his watch.

Now is the moment of truth for the composition of the Civilian Oversight Commission. Dignity & Power Now has assembled a terrific slate of community of community members, many of whom have experienced deputy abuse first hand, to fill the four seats on a nine-member commission that are designated for community members.

We all need to write to our county supervisors, urging that this slate be given due consideration. Dignity and Power Now has made writing your letter easy. Just click here and you can send our letter in seconds.

peter-laarman-15If you want to modify the canned message, feel free to say that you also want the Commission to have subpoena power and that your own supervisor should support subpoena power when the issue comes up at the July 12 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Please DO NOT DELAY. Send your letter now. We have just 10 days to get this done!

Peter Laarman

About Peter Laarman

Rev. Peter Laarman serves on the Justice Not Jails steering committee. He formerly directed Progressive Christians Uniting, the LA-based network of activist individuals and congregations that first launched Justice Not Jails in 2012 as a multifaith initiative. He served as the senior minister of New York’s Judson Memorial Church from 1994 to 2004. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Peter spent 15 years as a labor movement strategist and communications specialist prior to training for ministry.


  1. I am strongly in favor of the oversight commission having subpoena power as part of their designated authority.