Fault Lines investigates the power of US sheriffs and allegations of prisoner neglect and abuse.
Sheriffs and their deputies account for one-quarter of all sworn law enforcement officers in the US.
But unlike police or the FBI, who have clear oversight and a chain of command holding them accountable, sheriffs are elected in often highly partisan elections.
Many sheriffs don’t have term limits, and once they are elected, there are very few checks on their power. They can only be removed when the public votes against them.