Supervisor Hilda L. Solis’ Statement on Advancing Criminal Justice Reform

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis has released the following statement:

“I know that an incredible amount of work has gone into developing the plans for Mira Loma and the replacement project for the Men’s Central Jail. But the Board of Supervisors is rightfully judged on how we care for those in our custody.

With respect to Mira Loma, I continue to have concerns about the remote location of the facility and the detrimental impact this would have on visitation for women with their families. In many cases, the distance to Mira Loma is prohibitive to families being able to visit, just because of the time it takes to get out there, especially if children are involved. We know visitation is necessary for their rehabilitation and family stability.

This is why Supervisor Kuehl and I moved to create the Gender Responsive Advisory Board in 2015, which was charged with examining best practices to encourage family reunification and reduced recidivism for women. But our concerns about these issues have not been sufficiently addressed.

Furthermore, much has changed since these projects started moving five years ago. Significantly, in the last several years, legislation from the State, such as Propositions 47 and 64, have the potential to decrease jail populations in the County. These initiatives, which will lower the jail populations to levels that couldn’t have been foreseen a few years ago, and were never considered in any analysis.

Since then, this Board has taken a new approach and made significant investments in treatment and services, linked to diversion, reentry, and rehabilitation for people who are in our jails, or at risk of incarceration.

We created the Office of Diversion and Reentry and the Homeless Initiative, and the County is taking bold approaches to building and expanding our continuum of care for the spectrum of services necessary to address the rising mental health needs for those who are currently in our jails. We have also been pushing for bail reform to ensure that we are not detaining people simply because they are poor, who could be home with their families instead of detained. And, several years ago, I advocated for a comprehensive review of our entire jail population to understand the specific needs of women and people with mental health and substance abuse issues in our care.

Based on the significant change in tide we have seen in this County, across the state, and even nationally in recent years, I am interested in enhancing County services and investing in programs that are proven to reduce recidivism. LA County should be on the forefront of diversion and rehabilitation, rather than punishment and incarceration.

In that vein, I look forward to receiving more information from our County departments about how the concerns that continue to persist about Mira Loma and the Men’s Central Jail replacement project will be addressed. I will work with our departments and my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to identify the status of all of our initiatives on diversion and mental health and substance abuse treatment, and determine how the County’s efforts, and the changes in state law, will impact the plans for both Mira Loma and the replacement of Men’s Central Jail.”