The American Civil Liberties Union today found a blog-friendly way to restate its long-held opposition to California incarceration practices: an open letter to recently imprisoned celebrity Lindsay Lohan. The ACLU's letter to Lohan, who was jailed for violating the terms of her probation after a recent DUI, catalogs the poor treatment at Lohan's new home, "an overcrowded detention facility where women are needlessly humiliated for so long that they come to expect sub-human treatment."
It’s a place where an eight month pregnant woman was forced to sleep on the floor because she could not access the top bunk to which she was assigned. A place where women have said they are made to stand naked while menstruating, as they waited for jail-issued clothes. And a place where women routinely tell us they cannot get access to the same medications they took in the community (though we doubt that you will face this same problem.) Group punishments and degrading group strip searches are routine.
... Lindsay, even though it’s going to be difficult for you to be incarcerated even for a few weeks, rest assured that your celebrity is something that we who frequently visit Los Angeles’s jails see as an opportunity to draw attention to conditions in the jails. You will have a window into the world of Los Angeles jails, and we hope you will use it to talk to the press about conditions here.
The plight of California prisons will soon go before the Supreme Court, which is set to review a decision by California judges to release 38,000 inmates. The state judges said that the state prison system's notorious overcrowding had gotten so bad that jail conditions violated the basic Constitutional rights of inmates. Lohan herself is set to benefit as her sentence will be shortened due to overcrowding.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.