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Opinion

Letters: Baca’s resignation -- will anything change for jail inmates?

Lee Baca
L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, seen here speaking to reporters last month, announced his resignation Tuesday. Baca had planned on running for a fifth term as sheriff.
(Los Angeles Times)

Re “Baca plans to retire, sources say,” Jan. 7

The resignation of Lee Baca as sheriff of Los Angeles County is, in theory, a great step forward in accountability. But this is not the end of our community’s struggle to find a humane balance in the treatment of incarcerated people in our jails.

Inside Men’s Central Jail, which the Sheriff’s Department operates, scores of people languish in inhumane conditions. Fathers, sons, brothers and sisters (referring to transgender inmates) are warehoused in overcrowded dormitories and cell blocks. Access to fresh air and natural sunlight is scarce. The frigid temperatures inside often make people there sick.

I volunteered as a teacher at Men’s Central Jail from 2012 to 2013, and I can imagine some of my former students smiling at the news of Baca’s ignominious departure. But most, I’m sure, are still waiting and wondering if anything is ever going to change.

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Alex Sherman

Los Angeles

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