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L.A. Sheriff's Department Uses Flawed Data, Misreports Jail Violence, Says Inspector General

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Twin Towers Correctional Facilities. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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The Office of the Inspector General, which was created in 2014 to monitor the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, released a report on Tuesday that said the department was using inaccurate data in both internal and public reports.

In the report, Inspector General Max Huntsman asked if the department "is in control of itself," pointing to a number of botched data, reports the L.A. Times. Huntsman said that that much of the problem stems from a system of incompatible software programs that is being used by the department to keep track of incidents in the county's jails. The software sometimes conflates multiple incidents into one, for instance. In one example, the department said in an internal report that there were 382 counts of inmate-on-staff assaults recorded in 2015, while it told the Inspector General that there were 464 such incidents in that same year.

The Times notes that, earlier in the year, it had asked the Sheriff's department about the prevalence of inconsistent data—the department then told the newspaper that it no longer stood by some of the inmate assault statistics it'd released to the Times, and that it would review its data collecting systems.

The report comes as a blow to the department as it attempts to reform its jail system following a much publicized scandal that saw ex-Sheriff Lee Baca get convicted for obstruction of justice, among other charges. In 2011, the FBI began looking into alleged abuses that were happening within the L.A. County jail system. Baca and a number of his colleagues were later accused of attempting to interfere with the investigation; Baca was accused of, among other things, instructing deputies to go to an agent's home and intimidate her. Nine other officers and officials have either been convicted or pleaded guilty for their involvement.

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As noted on the Office of the Inspector General's website, the position was formed through an ordinance in 2014. In his role, Huntsman reports directly to the County Board of Supervisors, and has access to confidential LASD records, information and meetings. "This access enables the Inspector General to provide aggressive and effective civilian oversight of the Sheriff's Department while protecting from disclosure confidential personnel and privileged information," says the office.

The Office of the Inspector General told LAist that the report will be presented to the County Board of Supervisors next week. LAist reached out to the County Sheriff's Department for comment, but have yet to hear back at the time of publication.