Watch CBS News

LA jail healthcare workers protest overcrowding and understaffed conditions

Protesters concerned about overcrowding in LA jails
Protesters concerned about overcrowding in LA jails 02:11

Protestors gathered outside Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles Wednesday morning saying the jail is overcrowded and understaffed.

LA County jail healthcare workers circled out front of the jail, carrying signs that read "Judge Pregerson: We'll take you on a real jail tour."

The invitation comes on the heels of a guided tour Federal Judge Dean Pregerson recently took of the jail. Protestors say the tour was orchestrated by county officials and the judge did not see what it is really like.

"We know that people who are here deserve humane conditions. They deserve healthcare, mental healthcare and they deserve to be safe when they are here," said Katrina Thompson, RN.

LA County jail healthcare workers gathered outside Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles protesting overcrowded and understaffed conditions. KCAL News

They want Judge Pregerson to take another look, unannounced, to witness the overcrowding and understaffing, and to speak directly with frontline staff.

The county jail healthcare union, SEIU 721, says the workforce is diverse and stretched thin with one in three positions vacant.

They say the staff is overextended as they care for the overall jail population that routinely exceeds capacity on any given day by at least 20%.

Regardless of their circumstances, those who are incarcerated rely on SEIU 721 members, including nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, ultrasound technicians, radiologists, psychologists, social workers, housekeeping, medical case workers, and more.

The union noted that working in a jail with inmates is different from traditional healthcare settings. There are safety issues, the need for thick skin in dealing with hygiene and sanitation issues as well as the ability to remain professional and respectful even with the most difficult patients. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.