September 3, 2015 – Students of UCLA Law’s International Human Rights Clinic have prepared a report, “Breaking the Silence: Civil and Human Rights Violations Resulting from Medical Neglect and Abuse of Women of Color in Los Angeles County Jails,” which details violations against mentally ill women of color incarcerated in Los Angeles County’s Jails system, the largest in the country.
The grassroots organization, Dignity & Power Now, which advocates for inmates, their families, and communities, commissioned the report.
The report documents how Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputies and other personnel, including Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health personnel working in detention facilities, regularly denied the women interviewed vital mental and physical health care services.
On behalf of Dignity & Power Now, the students conducted research, established an interview protocol and surveyed former inmates to document access to health care, including mental health care, in the jails, as well as the outcomes inmates faced when treatment and medicine were not made available.
In addition to detailing the stories of women who had been incarcerated, the report underscores that the medical neglect and abuse of incarcerated women of color by Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputies and other public officials violates domestic civil rights law, regional human rights law, and international human rights law.
Assistant Professor Tendayi Achiume supervised the students’ research and edited the report.