L.A. County Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald manages the county's jails. She spoke to the board of supervisors Tuesday as they took the first step toward replacing the aging controversial jail.
A divided board of supervisors voted in favor of a plan to build a new two-towered facility next to Men's Central Jail and a modern women's facility in Mira Loma, all at an estimated cost of $1.7 billion.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky voted against the plan, saying the price tag will likely go higher.
Meanwhile, several community groups protested outside the meeting, saying the county should focus less on new jails and more on improving conditions for mentally ill or drug-addicted inmates.
The county says the new consolidated correctional treatment facility will focus more on mental health and substance abuse.
L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey says she will work on reducing the amount of mentally ill in the county's jails.
Other critics say the board should wait until a new sheriff is elected in November before planning to build a new jail, or until the federal government finishes its report on the jails.
The new men's facility will have 4,885 beds, roughly the same as Men's Central. The new women's facility in Mira Loma will have 1,000 beds.
Part of Tuesday's approval is the $30 million expense of an architectural design of the new jail and for an environmental impact report.