LOS ANGELES COUNTY — Today, Supervisor Kathryn Barger amended a motion by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Shelia Kuehl seeking a report back on the proposed closure of Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) so that the report will include stakeholder input from law enforcement agencies and municipalities, as well as an assessment of the individuals placed in the facility and where resources currently exist elsewhere in the system to serve this high-need populations.
“I support efforts to provide meaningful treatment and rehabilitation to those within our custody,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “However, the individuals who are currently placed at Men’s Central Jail include violent criminals and offenders who have significant treatment needs and may not qualify for diversion. Unfortunately, the existing beds at Men’s Central Jail are not comparable to those that exist elsewhere and thus it is imperative that the Board assess the existing population and the availability of other resources to meet the substantive needs of these individuals, while maintaining our core mission to keep the public safe.”
The assessment and analysis requested by Supervisor Barger in the report back to the Board will provide detailed and anonymized data regarding the population in custody at each of the jail facilities, including offenses by inmate, length of time being served, mental health status, age, ethnicity, gender/gender identity, pretrial status, status of those incarcerated on probation or parole violations, along with a breakdown of those recommended for diversion versus those who would remain in custody.
The 2014 study conducted by Health Management Associates conclude that even with robust diversion efforts, the need for jail beds would rise to nearly 6,800 by 2025. The Board then decreased the bed count from 4,885 to 3,885. In February 2019, the Board requested that Correctional Health Services partner with the County Health Departments to offer recommendations on capacity and design for the new facility, and ultimately abandoned construction of a new mental health facility.
“There is no doubt that based on the current and projected numbers, there is a need for a replacement facility for Men’s Central Jail,” Barger continued. “Furthermore, any discussions around the proposed closure of Men’s Central Jail must include the voices of our essential law enforcement partners and the many municipalities that will be impacted, along the relevant information on this sensitive population to ensure that the Board is able to make well-informed decisions moving forward,” Supervisor Barger continued.
The initial report back to the Board of Supervisors will be due in 60 days