Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis has released the following statement on her vote at the Board of Supervisors next Tuesday on the Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility (CCTF) project, and her motion that she filed:
“In the past few years, the nation, our State, and even the conditions in the County have fundamentally transformed around how we think about who is in our jails, and what services and treatment are available to them.
Los Angeles County’s jails are frequently described as the nation’s largest mental health institution, and that often includes substance use disorder issues. In fact, approximately 70% of the current prisoner population in our jail report at their initial assessment that they have a serious medical and/or mental illness or substance use disorder.
The County is moving quickly to enhance diversion and re-entry services in order to support a healthy reintegration into society and combat recidivism. We created the Office of Diversion & Reentry, diverting more than 2,800 clients from jail into housing and treatment through community-based services and other supportive programs. Measure H funding is helping to stabilize thousands of justice-involved individuals experiencing homelessness, diverting even more people from our criminal justice system. We have expanded our Mental Evaluation Teams, improved training for law enforcement, and scaled up criminal record expungement efforts.
There is a growing consensus around the deep interrelationships between homelessness, mental health, addiction, and how we think about public safety and justice. Given the dramatic paradigm shifts that we have seen on criminal justice, before we move forward on a plan to build a new detention facility, even one with treatment capacity, I believe the LA County Board of Supervisors is long overdue for a targeted and comprehensive study of who the people who are in our jails are, and what best practices are available to put them and their families on a path towards maintaining healthy, stable, and productive lives in their communities. We must properly explore how we can better treat the mental health and substance abuse needs of those who are placed in our jails. Additionally, we must conduct a comprehensive study of the impact of the County and statewide efforts on the systemwide jail population, including a specific emphasis on those with clinical and behavioral health needs.
I need this information before Los Angeles County commits to any particular course of action in regards to the future of the Men’s Central Jail site. At next Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, I will be voting no on the CCTF project.
We still need a facility to replace Men’s Central Jail, which is incompatible with today’s standards of care, custody, and compliance. But we need a facility that more directly serves the health needs of those it will serve, and one that falls into line with modern approaches to criminal justice and rehabilitation.
Instead of CCTF, I have submitted, along with my co-author Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, a motion for the Board’s consideration next Tuesday that will begin this important process as to how we can best support those currently in our custody and those leaving our custody, and ensure stability and safety for all of our communities.”