Margaret Carrero

LA County Supervisors Vote to Terminate $1.7 Billion Contract to Replace Men’s Central Jail

August 13, 2019 - 5:29 pm

(KNX 1070) - Los Angeles County Supervisors have decided to scrap a $1.7 billion contract to replace the aging Men’s Central Jail downtown.

Following the vote, L-A County Sheriff Villanueva called the board's action irresponsible and says it would leave mental health inmates without the appropriate treatment required by law.

They got to this place because the current contract does not accommodate the direction in which the Board is moving.

Supervisor Hilda Solis said, "It doesn't really favor or give credence to our new approach which is care first, jail last."

While a study found that 56 percent of county jail inmates with serious mental health needs may be eligible for diversion into community-based services, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said "diversion alone cannot be applied to the solution to every individual in the criminal justice system."

Earlier, the board decided that Men’s Central Jail should be replaced with a Mental Health Treatment Center.

Villanueva said not building the treatment center would force his department to continue housing mental health inmates in antiquated facilities not designed to serve those vulnerable populations.