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Supervisors approve contract to outsource some prisoners

Posted: September 26, 2013 6:10 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2013 6:10 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - Facing an influx of inmates as a result of state prison realignment, supervisors are looking outside the borders of Los Angeles County to house some of the county’s criminals.

Members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve a $75 million contract with the city of Taft, located southwest of Bakersfield in Kern County, to lease around 512 beds to house so-called M-7 offenders.

These inmates are often sentenced to custody for longer periods of time, as the M-7 designation includes those convicted of kidnapping, child molestation and manslaughter.

“This action will ensure those convicted of felonies including rape, child molestation, child abuse, kidnapping, mayhem, sex offenders who fail to register and carjacking serve their full sentences,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who voted in favor of the contract.

As it stands, M-7 offenders typically only serve about 40 percent of their sentenced time before being released from custody, according to a report from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Antonovich and Supervisor Gloria Molina pushed for ways to increase that time served at last week’s board meeting.

As approved, the contract with Taft runs until 2018 and is for an amount “not to exceed” $75 million.

The contract is necessary, officials say, because the county’s jail system is constrained by state prison realignment, which shifts responsibility of criminals whose crimes were non-violent, non-sexual and non-serious in nature from the state to the county.

Since realignment began in October 2011, the county has seen more than 6,000 inmates that would typically serve time in state prison instead be sentenced to county jails.

“Without custody alternatives, our jail system will soon exceed its capacity,” reads a report to the Board of Supervisors.
Supervisors also voted last week to approve a new contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to house approximately 500 inmates at fire camps throughout the county.

That contract carries an estimated annual cost of about $8.4 million.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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