California Counties now facing inmate lawsuits
California has spent billions of dollars and endured years of federal lawsuits to improve conditions in its state prisons.
But the problems it has been trying to correct are now trickling down to local governments as county jails deal with thousands of additional inmates.
Law firms advocating for inmates' rights sued or threatened lawsuits against a handful of California counties because of Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to send lower-level offenders to jails instead of state prisons as a way to comply with a federal court order.
The lawsuits allege overcrowding and other subpar conditions that led to the legal actions against the state's prison system are repeating at the county level. They note jails designed for short-term stays are flooded with thousands of inmates, many of whom serving long sentences.
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