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Feds To Move Ahead With Consent Decree For LA County Jails

LOS ANGELES ( — Federal officials have announced they will move forward with a federal consent decree to address mental health care problems in Los Angeles County's jails.

The Department of Justice rejected a last-ditch effort by the county to maintain control over its jail facilities, The Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

KNX 1070's Jon Baird reports the DOJ sent a letter to the county last week that said despite some progress, the agency remains concerned about the sustainability of recent jail reforms.

Feds To Move Ahead With Consent Decree For LA County Jails

A consent decree would be overseen by a federal judge and The Times estimates it would cost the county millions of dollars to implement.

The Los Angeles Police Department was under a consent decree for 12 years until it was lifted in May 2013.

The Department of Justice announced on June 4 that it would seek court oversight of the jails, citing a dramatic increase in inmate suicides.

Former federal prosecutor Miriam Krinsky, who headed an LA County commission looking at violence inside jails, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO there are an estimated 1,000 inmates with mental illness and suicides are increasing.

But, according to Krinsky, the feds should hold off enforcing a consent decree until voters name Sheriff Lee Baca's successor.

"It's appropriate to wait until a new sheriff is elected," said Krinsky. "We found that fundamentally the problems within the Sheriff's Department resulted from a failure of leadership.

A run-off election between Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell and former LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka takes place in November.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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