Consultant’s Report Clashes with Calls for Smaller Men’s Central Jail

Smaller Central Jail

The current Men’s Central Jail. A consultant for L.A. County recommends that the new downtown Men’s Central Jail contain 4,600 to 5,060 beds. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A consultant hired by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has determined that the new Men’s Central Jail should contain about 5,000 beds — roughly the same number as a plan that the board voted to put on hold last month.

Three supervisors, including newly elected Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, want to reexamine the size of the proposed new jail, which they believe could be reduced if more inmates, particularly those with mental illness, are placed in treatment programs in the community.

cindy-chang-200x300The report, made public Monday and prepared by Health Management Associates, projects that the need for jail beds countywide will increase from the 17,000 inmates currently being housed to 21,599 in 10 years despite legislative changes that may drive the jail population downward.

Cindy Chang
LA Times

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About Cindy Chang

Cindy Chang covers the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, she worked at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, where her beats included city government, schools and special projects. She was the lead writer for a series on Louisiana prisons that won several national awards. A graduate of Yale University and NYU School of Law, she began her journalism career at the Pasadena Star-News.