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L.A.'s Juvenile Hall Is As Bad As 'Third World Country Prison,' County Report Says
A new report put together by a member of the L.A. County Probation Commission compares conditions at Los Angeles' Juvenile Hall to those in a "third world country prison." Compiled by commissioner Azael Martinez, the new report reveals some truly harrowing insights into life behind bars for the 200 or so minors incarcerated at the Eastlake Detention Center, also known as Juvenile Hall, according to the L.A. Times.
Martinez's report is particularly damning for the troubled jail system, as it follows an audit from the County's Controller office revealing that, on average, Los Angeles County spends approximately $233,000 per person annually to incarcerate minors.
What exactly that enormous sum of money is being spent on is unclear, as Martinez's new report underscores the deplorable conditions inside Juvenile Hall.
Martinez's report was frank when it compared the jail to a "dungeon." Martinez wrote, per the Times, how "What can't be shaken is the stench emitting from the unit and rooms due to urinals broken, backed up, not cleaned and unsanitary." According to the commissioner, several cells lack running water.
"It appears that no one cares. Staff does not know who is in charge and are quick to push the blame elsewhere," the report reads.
Other highlights include gang-tags remaining painted on jail-walls for weeks, and abuse of solitary confinement as a disciplinary measure. As Martinez reports, children are sent to solitary confinement for minor issues like sharing food.
The fact that the more than 100-year-old facility is in bad shape isn't exactly a new revelation. Two years ago, when L.A. County announced a $2 billion plan to overhaul the Men's Central Jail, a grand jury criticized the county for failing to include Juvenile Hall in its plans.
As the grand jury pointed out in 2014, "Bath towels and duct tape were used in a futile attempt to repair broken pipes and prevent seepage," according to the L.A. Times.
County Supervisors voted last November to begin studying how to replace the facility, but for the time being Eastlake will remain open.