Last week LA Weekly published a story from cartoonist Elana Pritchard, about the two months she spent in the Los Angeles County jail system. According to the article, her mentor, animator-director Ralph Bakshi, advised her to document it. So armed with a golf pencil and whatever paper she could find, she drew images during her time at the Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF) in Lynwood and the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles.
Elana goes on to describe the experience and living conditions. At one facility, they were only given cleaning supplies once a week, and one mop and one bucket of water for forty women. “If you didn’t hurry up and grab the mop right away, by the time you got the bucket, the water would be filthy and black.”
Another experience shows an even darker side to her jail stay: when traveling on a bus to and from court, a group of male prisoners tried to pressure her into showing her breasts for drugs.
There is a glimmer of hope to this story. Elana reported on Twitter that she received a letter from the Sheriff’s Department and that they want to have a meeting to discuss improving conditions in the jails. She plans to meet with the ACLU first, so hopefully good can come out of her art.
Well, I received a letter from the sheriff’s dept. They want to have a meeting.
— Elana Pritchard (@ElanaPritchard) January 2, 2015