$300 million jail system fix proposed

first_img Female inmates are currently housed at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility but are expected to be moved March 25 to the Lynwood jail. That would allow the most serious male offenders at the 43-year-old Men’s Central Jail and other jails to occupy one of the towers, relieving tensions in the system where recent rioting left two dead and more than 150 injured. The plan also calls for relocating male inmates over 40 to the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic where they would not be victimized by younger and more violent inmates, Baca said. Janssen also recommended giving Baca $25 million to pay for security cameras, a radio frequency system to track inmates, and a “telemedicine” system to allow doctors to prescribe treatment via videoconferencing. To help pay for the long-term price tag, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has proposed a bond measure for the November ballot. No amount has been set. Yaroslavsky said the last bond issue county voters approved was in 1988 and that will be paid off next year. If the jails problems aren’t addressed, Yaroslavsky said taxpayers will face “tremendous risks” in terms of large payouts for various problems overcrowding contributes to, including rioting injuries and floor-sleeping. Baca also is campaigning to place a one-quarter percent sales tax increase on the November ballot to deal with rising gang violence in the county. But Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said he opposes both the bond measure and tax increase. “With the recent passage of Proposition 1A, we have the ability to fully fund law enforcement programs with existing revenues – that includes $18.3 million to enhance services in unincorporated areas – and the proposed 2006-07 budget gives the sheriff another increase of about $130 million,” he said. Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 “(Baca) simply has no place to lock down people when they need to be isolated,” Janssen said. “This plan is the beginning of a process to deal with that issue. It involves reopening Sybil Brand Institute. It involves additional cells at Men’s Central Jail and the Pitchess Detention Center. “The goal is to eventually get up to about 5,000 high-security beds.” Baca said the plan would involve “major changes” in how the most violent and dangerous inmates are housed. “The current situation in the county jails justifies the Board of Supervisors declaring an emergency, where staff and inmate safety is of paramount importance,” Baca said. In his plan, Janssen recommends spending $20 million next fiscal year to begin a $169 million refurbishment of the 1,800-bed Sybil Brand, which closed in 1997 and could reopen in three years as the women’s jail. Los Angeles County officials proposed Thursday spending up to $300 million to fix long-standing problems in the sprawling jail system by boosting the sheriff’s budget, reopening three jails and placing a bond measure on the November ballot. Under the plan, facilities that would be reopened include the South Facility at Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. Still, while Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen recommended giving Sheriff Lee Baca an extra $130 million next fiscal year – including $45 million to fix problems in the jails – it was far less than the $547 million Baca had requested. Janssen said a prime factor behind recent jail rioting is the facilities themselves – which have only 2,875 high-security cells for 5,000 to 7,000 high-security inmates. last_img