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UPDATE: L.A. County supervisors shelve $75M inmate plan

Posted: October 30, 2013 11:24 a.m.
Updated: October 30, 2013 6:35 p.m.

Los Angeles County supervisors have put on hold a $75 million plan to send inmates to a facility in Kern County that is involved in ongoing litigation with the state’s Department of Corrections.

Supervisors voted 3-2 during their meeting Tuesday to shelve the project that would ship about 500 inmates serving lengthy sentences to a jail run by the city of Taft.

The plan, which was previously approved by the board, was considered a cost-effective approach to free up local jail beds and increase the amount of time served by the more serious offenders.

But Supervisor Gloria Molina said she changed her mind after learning about pending litigation between Taft and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley on the board, joined Supervisor Don Knabe in voting against scrapping the deal.

“The supervisor believes we need to outsource to free up space in our facilities to ensure the most violent and highest-risk criminals serve the entirety of their prescribed time in jail,” Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell said Wednesday.

The desire to increase the amount of time served by criminals butts up against capacity constraints in the county’s jail system, a system that has been strained by California’s prison realignment law.

That law mandates that individuals sentenced after committing crimes that are deemed non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual in nature serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prison.

The lack of capacity at existing county facilities has led supervisors to look for alternatives, such as the facility in Taft, to house some of the county’s inmates.

Those include an agreement with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to house some inmates in fire camps.

Supervisors are also looking at constructing a new facility to house more than 1,000 female inmates at the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster, a move they say would reduce overcrowding at other facilities.




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