Assistant sheriff credited with curtailing the worst abuses in L.A. County jails is leaving

Cindy Chang | Latimes.com
April 26, 2016

LaCountyJail-mcdonald-abuseThe enormousness of the task facing Terri McDonald was clear.

A veteran of the state prisons, she had been brought in to turn around a Los Angeles County jail system reeling from allegations of mismanagement and abuse.

Inmates were complaining of rampant brutality by guards. An FBI investigation into excessive force and corruption was underway. Outside experts were calling for extensive reforms.

Three years later, McDonald, 52, is stepping down, having presided over a period of seismic change in the county jails.

In a department where jailers were accused of adopting an “us versus them” attitude, McDonald brought a gentler approach, taking time to chat with inmates about their concerns. She sought to revamp a culture in which deputies viewed the jails as an unsavory blankignment before moving to patrol.

In 2013, the year she arrived, there were 10 jail suicides. Last year there was one.

The most severe injuries caused by deputies — resulting in broken bones or worse — have decreased to a handful each year. Agreements McDonald helped negotiate with federal authorities and the ACLU now govern how mentally ill inmates are treated and when deputies can use physical force.

Read more here:http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-jails-abuse-reformer-20160426-story.html

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