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Discussion on new LA County jail postponed

March 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has been pushing the Board of Supervisors for new facilities since at least November 2011, when he presented a $1.4 billion proposal for construction of a downtown and a women's jail.

On Tuesday, Baca was set to propose a plan for a new $932-million jail facility. However, the board decided to postpone discussion of the county's options once again for at least another 60 days.

The board agreed to hire an independent consultant to analyze the need for new county jails. A consulting firm will conduct its own review of existing facilities, profile the inmate population, project the need for jail beds for at least the next 30 years and look at various funding sources.

Baca's proposal would replace the old Men's Central Jail located in downtown Los Angeles which has been plagued by allegations of abuse against inmates.

A report by the Citizen's Commission on Jail Violence recently blasted the sheriff's department for lack of leadership and its failure to rein in aggressive deputies.

The jail's overcrowding has also become a concern as its had trouble keeping pace with the stream of inmates flooding its facility.

The sheriff's office has also come under fire for its lack of leadership and effort to rehabilitate its inmates back into society.

Baca's proposal aims to solve most of these problems. According to Tuesday meeting's agenda, the new facility will include classrooms for inmates and focus less on enforcement and more on rebuilding human lives.

Baca had planned to request that the Board of Supervisors hire a contractor to prepare a design and an environmental impact review for the new jail.

On Monday, Baca introduced the facility's new assistant sheriff to the public. Terri McDonald, a former undersecretary for California prisons, will now oversea the nation's largest jail.

It's still unclear how the county would fund Baca's nearly $1 billion project.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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