LOS ANGELES – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to initiate the creation of a Jail Closure Implementation Team (JCIT) to actualize the full closure and demolishment of Men’s Central Jail (MCJ).
“Through the collective efforts of community stakeholders, County partners, and advocacy-based organizations over the years, the Board has the information it needs to work towards a full closure and demolition of Men’s Central Jail,” shared Chair Solis. “This is a critical step and fits in the larger framework of the Board’s vision to direct resources to building systems of care in the community by diverting and ultimately, removing carceral and traumatic institutions that have caused great harm to our communities, particularly Black and Latinx residents for years.”
In 30 days, the CEO will put forth a proposal on the structure of the JCIT, which at minimum will include an Executive Director. The Executive Director will lead relevant County departments in setting goals, objectives, and timelines to closing and demolishing MCJ and will provide frequent updates to the Board and public on its progress.
The JCIT will also collaborate with our community stakeholders, which will include various people impacted by the MCJ closure, including survivors of harm, and individuals who are formerly and currently incarcerated.
“For many years, the Board of Supervisors has considered the appropriate disposition of the decrepit, overcrowded, and outdated Men’s Central Jail,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “This motion says, once and for all, ‘We are going to depopulate and demolish Men’s Central Jail, and we have no intention of building a new jail to replace it.’ Closing Men’s Central Jail is one of the most important actions we can take to signal the new era in LA County justice policy. Care first. Jail last.”
The JCIT’s immediate work will be focused and narrow enough in scope to accomplish the closure of MCJ, and will necessarily draw on the large body of County subject matter expertise, and the several efforts to date that address diverting individuals from custody, preventing new inflow into the jails, and ensuring that those who remain in custody receive the services and treatment necessary to minimize their length of stay to the greatest extent possible, including fostering more community-based opportunities for diversion and release. The launch of JCIT comes after years of engaging with community stakeholders and other advocacy organizations who have partnered with the County to build out a holistic approach to addressing public safety with a ‘Care First, Jails Last’ approach.
The motion finds it is necessary to depopulate and demolish MCJ, and likewise find that it is unnecessary to build any new County jail or custody facility; Directs that the CEO, in consultation with County Counsel, the Executive Officer of the Board of Supervisors, and other Directors of Departments/entities deemed appropriate and necessary, start a Jail Closure Implementation Team (JCIT) whose specific and immediate focus is to implement the closure of MCJ; Directs the CEO to report back in 30 days with a proposal for how the JCIT should be structured including staff and a proposal for how the JCIT will draw from the expertise—and the work to-date and currently underway including the Restorative Justice Village Master Plan, as appropriate—of relevant County departments; Directs the JCIT Executive Director consult with and consider the positions of County departments as necessary, and consider the positions of Board-created workgroups and councils, as well as community stakeholders, making recommendations about the closure of MCJ.
The motion further directs the JCIT to report to the Board in writing, within 60 days of becoming operational, with a status update including its actions, goals, and associated timelines, including an initial estimate of how long the JCIT may be necessary for the closure of MCJ and a framework for communication, among other directives.
To view the full motion, click here.
Kimberly Ortega, Acting Communications Director, (213) 361-6435 or KOrtega@bos.lacounty.gov
Stephany Villaseñor, Communications Deputy, (213) 308-9017 or SVillasenor@bos.lacounty.gov