LOS ANGELES, April 14 (UPI) -- The American Civil Liberties Union Tuesday called for an end to what it calls dangerous overcrowding in the Los Angeles County's central jail for men.
In a statement, the ACLU said conditions at the facility cause or contribute to violence and mental illness among inmates.
"Men's Central Jail is so grossly overcrowded, dangerous and dungeon-like that it puts intolerable stress on the jailed as well as the jailers," said Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU National Prison Project. "The county must do whatever it takes to stop subjecting people to the nightmarish conditions in this jail, and stop denying basic mental health treatment to those who need it."
The ACLU's comments came as county officials are investigating the death of John Horton, 22, who was found hanging from a noose in his cell March 30, after spending more than a month in the jail.
In a 50-page report submitted to Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca last year, an expert said he found that idleness and massive overcrowding at the jail leads to violence and ultimately psychotic breakdown even in relatively healthy people.
The report was made public Tuesday.
With 20,000 detainees, the Los Angeles County jail system is the largest in the nation. Men's Central Jail, which is nearly 50 years old, houses an average of 5,000 detainees.