Gov. Jerry Brown may have declared his problem with the federal government solved, but by shifting prisoners to county administration, he kicked the can downstairs.
On Tuesday the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will again consider a $75 million, five-year deal to essentially rent space at a correctional facility in Taft for 512 inmates, to relieve the strain on L.A. County’s bursting jail system.
The supervisors first discussed the idea in August but took no action, instead directing Sheriff Lee Baca to report on a state senate bill that might provide some monetary relief.
According to Baca’s report, the bill, SB 1022, authorized counties to submit plans for financing an “adult local criminal justice facility” – i.e., a jail, mental health facility or other treatment space.
Under the bill, the Board of State and Community Corrections would be authorized to issue a total of $500 million in bonds to build such facilities throughout the state.
Per Baca’s report, the money would go to counties seeking to rehab or replace crammed or outdated facilities.
Sheriff Lee Baca
The whole thing is in the early stages, but a new panel is being formed by the Board of Corrections to deal with SB 1022, and Baca will be one of its two chairs (the other being the sheriff of Lassen County).
Baca says long term, he might want to use SB 1022 money to upgrade the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster, which houses 1,040 inmates in buildings that date to the 1940s, and possibly take over the old High Desert Hospital building next door and use it as a rehabilitation center.
But that plan is “strictly conceptual at this time,” Baca’s report states.
Meanwhile, his 21,000 jail beds aren’t sufficient to accommodate traditional county inmates (those sentenced to 364 days or less) because they’re full of suspects who haven’t yet gone to trial or convicts who haven’t yet been sentenced – and now, state prisoners whose last offense was non-violent, non-serious and non-sex-related (N3). (Prior convictions aren’t taken into consideration when shifting state prisoners into the county jail system; the suspect in the Dec. 2 slaying of four people in Northridge had five prior convictions but was released from state custody earlier in 2012 because his last conviction was N3.)
For more information about the Taft plan that’s on the supervisors’ agenda Tuesday, read the story from its first consideration [here].