Crime & Justice

LA jails to improve wheelchair access

The Board of Supervisors will consider a $20 million plan to help the mentally ill avoid jail and move into other treatments.
The Board of Supervisors will consider a $20 million plan to help the mentally ill avoid jail and move into other treatments.
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

A federal judge has given initial approval to an agreement that requires the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to improve conditions in its jails for inmates using wheelchairs.

This week's preliminary approval of a settlement agreement with the ACLU of Southern California comes six years after attorneys filed the class-action suit alleging discrimination and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Eighth and 14th amendments.

Now former jail inmates and people who can arguably claim to be future inmates can submit objections to the ACLU through Jan. 12. Objectors may appear before the court at a March 23 hearing and be allowed to testify before the agreement is finalized.

Improvements include equal access to jail programming, more wheelchair accessible cells and showers, and that wheelchairs are provided when needed.