LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement on agenda item 22 to “Depopulate and Decarcerate Los Angeles County Jails,” which was scheduled for the Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow, April 4, 2023.
“Los Angeles County is subject to numerous federal consent decrees and settlement agreements, including those regarding the treatment provided for incarcerated people with mental health needs and severe overcrowding in County jails, including Men’s Central Jail.
They are expensive and getting into compliance is becoming more challenging as the population becomes more complex; and the conditions in the jails, as we have long known, are horrid and inhumane.
The County is at a point in which immediate action must be taken. However, the authority and responsibility to close Men’s Central Jail does not rest solely with the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors has limited jurisdiction and authority over the safe decarceration and diversion of those in County jails, as these authorities lie largely with the Los Angeles Superior Court, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and the Los Angeles County Sheriff.
I introduced the motion on ‘Los Angeles County to Take Actionable Next Steps to Depopulate and Decarcerate the Los Angeles County Jails’ as a way to strike a balance with both justice-involved advocates and public safety representatives. Additionally, with the federal consent decrees and settlement agreements, including a potential receivership from the State, I felt this move was necessary.
The intention behind my motion was for the Board of Supervisors to use the limited authority it has to safely depopulate, including:
- Giving the Los Angeles County Sheriff authority to use electronic monitoring as a form of an alternative to incarceration.
- Advocating for the Los Angeles Superior Court to support the County in its pursuit of “care first” as it once did when it adopted a statewide COVID-19 emergency bail schedule. That set bail at $0 for our pre-trial population, which accounts for almost half of the total jail population. Many who have not yet been tried for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies are languishing in County jails.
- Requesting CDCR to take those individuals in County jails who have been sentenced to prison to their facilities. This includes about 10% of the total County jail population and will help relieve overcrowding.
- Advocating for legislative changes at the State-level so that those who are medically fragile can be eligible for compassionate release.
Nonetheless, since the motion was published, my office has received concerns from a variety of stakeholders — those who feel the motion is not doing enough and those who feel it is doing too much. To that end, I will be referring the motion back to my office so that I can continue to gather input from all stakeholders. We must help balance the needs of public safety while also getting into compliance with our federal obligations. And in that process, I ask that County departments and agencies help us with meeting the need of our most vulnerable.”