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Supervisors look at alternatives to jailing inmates

County leaders ask sheriff’s officials to look at allowing rehab for portion of sentences

Posted: July 24, 2012 5:51 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2012 5:51 p.m.


In an effort to stem the growing tide of inmates entering Los Angeles County jails under the state’s realignment plan, Los Angeles County supervisors asked the sheriff Tuesday to look at rehab instead of jail time for a portion of sentences.

Under the realignment bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in April 2011, control of lower-level offenders — including non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual offenders — was shifted from state prisons to local control starting in October 2011.

Los Angeles County jails are currently housing more than 5,000 inmates serving time under realignment, according to information from Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors agenda. That number is increasing.

Despite plans to increase jail capacity and improve the quality of future county facilities, the increase in jail space won’t be sufficient to serve the increased inmate population, county officials said.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky recommended Tuesday that sheriff’s officials look into allowing certain inmates to serve a portion of their time in rehabilitation facilities instead of jail.

Inmates could serve 33 percent to 50 percent of their sentences in transitional housing and rehabilitation programs if the plan is approved, a sheriff’s official said at Tuesday’s meeting. The inmates would also be monitored.

“We do plan on putting them on electronic monitoring as an extra precaution,” the sheriff’s official said.

The Sheriff’s Department will examine the assessment tools that will be used to identify the inmates who could serve a portion of their time in rehabilitation.

Sheriff’s officials will also examine which inmates could be put in rehabilitation based on the nature of the charge, the sentence rendered, time remaining on the inmate’s sentence and any other criteria that will be used. Officials were also asked to identify the facilities and rehabilitation programs that could be used, identification of funding sources and a cost analysis for the program.

The Sheriff’s Department plans to use state realignment funds to pay for the program, the sheriff’s official said.
With Tuesday’s unanimous vote, sheriff’s officials are due back with a written report in 30 days.




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