Alameda County, Ca., Sheriff Greg Ahern, who held his position for almost 16 years, has lost the race to keep his job, according to Courthouse News Service. Many have criticized the dangerous conditions at Santa Rita Jail, one of the largest jails in Northern California, leading to his defeat. A Tuesday night ballot count showed his opponent, Yesenia Sanchez, had 52.7 percent of the vote. Sanchez said she plans to bring reform, transparency and accountability to the office. Her platform includes expanding mental health and anti-recidivism resources, looking at racial disparities and limiting cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Several politicians, unions and newspapers endorsed Sanchez. Many have protested the mistreatment and deaths of prisoners under Ahern. Nearly 60 inmates died by suicide, overdose and homicide since 2014. Prisoners struggling with serious mental health conditions were let out of their cells for only five hours a week. Critics say Ahern resisted calls for more humane treatment of inmates. A Department of Justice investigation found understaffing, lack of mental health resources and deliberate indifference to prisoner health and safety.