The Power of the Jump™: Women “Routinely” Serve More Time Than Men in L.A. County Jail — Except, That Is, When They Don’t
(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)
The L.A. Times says in a front-page article:
Under its policy of selectively releasing criminals to ease jail overcrowding, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has routinely forced women, prostitutes arrested in Compton and certain gang members to serve more time than others convicted of identical crimes.
So women have “routinely” been forced to serve more time than men, eh? That certainly is a dramatic revelation. But guess what? When you turn to the back pages, you learn that men have also “routinely” been forced to serve more time than women. And, you find, men and women now “routinely” serve the same percentage of their sentences. It all depends on available space, and what period of time you look at. Let’s look at the details, which are set forth on Page A14:
Over the years, the Sheriff’s Department has maintained different release policies for men and women, even for those convicted of the same crimes.
Male and female inmates are housed in separate jail sections, and sheriff’s officials said their release policies are based on the amount of space available and fluctuations in arrests.
Two years ago, women convicted of all but the most serious crimes were released immediately, serving none of their sentences. But in the last year, the department required women convicted of assault to serve 25% of their sentences while men served just 10%.
Klugman said he changed the policy earlier this month. Men and women now are eligible for release after serving 10% of their time.
So: two years ago, women served less (actually, no) time. One year ago, they served more, based on available space. And now, they serve the same. And this situation is portrayed on the front page as women “routinely” being forced to serve more time than men.
I guess that sounds more dramatic than:
Under its policy of selectively releasing criminals to ease jail overcrowding, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has at times routinely forced women to serve more time than men, and at other times routinely forced men to serve more time than women. And currently, men and women serve the same amount of time. Routinely.
In an unrelated front-page story, the paper reports that roulette wheels routinely come up black. On Page A14, the caveat is added: except when they come up red.