Federal Judge William Keady, a fine Southern gentleman who enforced the civil rights laws in the face of much approbation from Mississippi citizens, found that many of the armed trusties had been convicted of violent crimes, and that as of April 1, 1971, 35 percent had not been tested psychologically.
Trusties were engaged in a litany of abuses: beatings; shootings; forced administration of milk of magnesia; stripping inmates of their clothes; turning fans on wet and naked inmates; depriving inmates of mattresses, hygienic materials and adequate food; handcuffing or otherwise binding inmates to fences, bars or other fixtures; using a cattle prod to keep inmates standing or moving; shooting at or around inmates to keep them standing or moving; and forcing inmates to stand, sit or lie on crates, stumps or otherwise maintain awkward positions for prolonged periods.
Many of the inmate trusties working in the warden's plantation house had been convicted of murder.
The room has enough beds for up to 14 trusties but typically only holds six to eight.
To qualify to become trusties, inmates must be jailed on a nonviolent offense and have a permanent address - transients are considered too likely to flee.
The trusties also serve food to the new arrestees housed in the station's cells.
Of the 8,000 inmates at the detention center, only a few hundred of them are jail trusties, King said.
The use of trusties throughout saves Los Angeles County millions of dollars each year, King said.