Sybil Brand, philanthropist and civic leader, was the recipient of over 2,000 awards, commendations, and resolutions in recognition of her generosity and lifetime commitment on behalf of the people of Los Angeles County.
In 1948, Sybil Brand accepted an appointment to the Public Welfare Commission. Later, when no one on the Commission wanted to serve on the Jail Committee, Sybil Brand volunteered.
While serving in this capacity, Sybil Brand saw the necessity to improve the overcrowded conditions of incarcerated juveniles, men, and in particular women. Sybil visited the women inmates who were housed on the 13th floor of the men’s jail in the old Hall of Justice and was appalled that more than 1,800 women were crammed into facilities designed for 1,200. It was then that Sybil began to look for space in new buildings or to convert usable space in existing buildings as potential sites for housing women inmates. When a suitable facility could not be found, Sybil campaigned and was instrumental in the passage of a bond measure which provided funds not only for a women’s facility, but also for a new men’s jail and several honor camps. In 1963, the Sybil Brand Institute for Women was opened and renamed in her honor at the dedication ceremony for the facility.
The title of the Commission was officially changed when Sybil was honored by the Board of Supervisors on her 90th birthday and 50th year working for the people of the County. Sybil served as Chairman of the Commission until her recent death on February 17th, 2004. She was believed to be 104.
Charitable programs very dear to Mrs. Brand’s heart include “Babies With AIDS”, the “Teddy Bear Program” for children who have to face the ordeal of going to dependency court hearings, and the Jeffrey Foundation.
In 1994, the Sybil Brand Institute for Women was severely damaged during the Northridge Earthquake. Since that time, women inmates are being housed in Twin Tower Two of the new Twin Towers Facility in Downtown Los Angeles until the plan to reopen the Sybil Brand Institute for Women is realized.
The Sybil Brand Commission for Institutional Inspections formerly called the Institutional Inspection Commission was founded in 1959 by Sybil Brand who saw the necessity to improve the overcrowded conditions of incarcerated juveniles, men, and in particular women. The name changed to Sybil Brand Commission for Institutional Inspections, was in honor of her 90th birthday and her 50th Year of dedicated service to the County of Los Angeles.
The Sybil Brand Commission for institutional Inspections consists of ten Commissioners, who are appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (two from each Supervisorial District). The Los Angeles County Sheriff and the Chair of the Civilian Oversight Commission (COC) serve as ex-officio members of the Commission.
The Sybil Brand Commissioners conducts inspections of County jail facilities and Sheriff- and County-maintained adult courthouse lockups. Each Commission member may conduct a maximum of two inspections per month. In addition to these monthly inspections, the Commission may assist with inspections at the request of the COC or the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Inspections requested by the COC or the OIG shall take priority over the Commission's monthly inspections.
The members of the Commission, in visiting and inspecting jails and adult courthouse lockups examine every department of each institution visited, and ascertain its condition as to effective and economical administration, the cleanliness, discipline and comfort of its inmates, and in any other respects, whether such institution is located within or without the corporate limits of any incorporated city.
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