L.A. County settles suit alleging horrific conditions for disabled inmates

Twin Towers Correctional Facility
Handcuffs dangle from a handrail in Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Six years after disabled jail inmates sued, alleging horrific conditions for those who used wheelchairs, Los Angeles County officials have agreed to a settlement.

In the lawsuit, filed in 2008 by the ACLU and other disability rights attorneys, inmates described soiling themselves in an intake area because the bathroom was not wheelchair accessible.




An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the county is agreeing to reforms five years after the lawsuit was filed. It is six years.


They said they were given wheelchairs without working brakes and that they fell when trying to use jail toilets because there was no grab bar on the wall. Showers had ledges that made it dangerous to enter in a wheelchair, they said.

Some said they were sent to “the hole” when they did not obey orders to stand up and relinquish their wheelchairs.


The settlement, which must be approved by a judge at a hearing on Monday, calls for jail officials to make improvements, including providing working wheelchairs and giving disabled inmates access to work and educational programs.

A wing of the Twin Towers jail has already been fitted with wheelchair-accessible toilets and showers. The county jail system now employs an Americans With Disabilities Act coordinator, and inmates may appeal when they are denied the use of a wheelchair or walker.

For more news on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and jails, follow @cindychangLA.  

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