An investigation into the jail infrastructure and health facilities has revealed that 14 inmates have died in the Los Angeles County Jail system since 1999. These deaths are believed to have resulted from treatment errors and lack of proper medical care.
It has been reported that the jail infrastructure lacks adequate doctors, nurses and other medical workers which leads to delay in treatment for medical conditions ranging from hernia to heart disease.
It has been found that inmates had to wait for weeks to be examined for conditions that require emergency treatment. At times inmates who wish to see a doctor, are released by jail authorities without any examination.
Jody Kent, -sanctioned by court, spent three years in making a documentary for the American Civil Liberties Union.Kent reports seeing many inmates with raw wounds untreated for infections, fractured bones and bulging hernias.
'I basically saw grown men crying because they were in such pain,' Kent said.
Sheriff's Lt. Stephen Smith who is in-charge of the jail system's medical services bureau, said 'We face unique challenges, and we do the best we can,' Smith said. 'These are difficult, angry, messed-up people. We try to treat people with the respect, not that they necessarily deserve, but that human decency demands.'
This critical condition seems to have arisen due to understaffing. The number of workers is only 980 and at least another 720 are needed to fulfill minimum state treatment standards.
Sander Peck, the chief physician in the jail system is reported to have said, 'I could have every doctor in the county of Los Angeles here, and it still wouldn't be enough. I don't know what 'enough' would be.'