L.A. County will replace Men’s Central Jail with mental health hospital for inmates

The county of Los Angeles has approved a plan that would initiate the demolition of the medieval-like Men’s Central Jail downtown in the efforts to build one mental health treatment facility in its place.

The new strategy customizes a $2.2-billion proposal that would have created the Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility, which was designed to house 3,885 “prisoner patients” in a rehabilitation-focused center in the footprint of the Central Jail, which was built in 1963.

Under a critical arrangement authorized Tuesday, the Department of Health Providers would supervise the brand-new facility, rather than the Police Department, which presently handles all prison operations. The brand-new area, called the Mental Health Treatment Center, would be staffed by the Department of Mental Health, with a restricted number of deputies providing security.

The county would also consider building a series of smaller mental university hospitals instead of a single, big health center. The strategy marks a significant shift in viewpoint in housing inmates and an acknowledgment of the changing nature of the prison population: Inmates who are medically or mentally ill now make up an estimated 70% of people kept in the county prison system.

” Sheriff’s deputies will never get adequate training to end up being psychological health professionals, nor should they,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who co-authored the motion detailing the strategy with Manager Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Jailers equipped with Tasers and pepper spray are inherently damaging to producing the safe environment essential for mental healthcare.”

Hahn said the supreme goal is to divert prisoners to community-based care any place possible.

Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl opposed the relocation in a 3-2 vote, arguing the plan might still allow for the building of a vast facility with too many beds, which they say would lead to bad results for people who have a mental disorder.

” It’s still a jail. It’s still walls. It’s still avoiding individuals from having freedom, the possibility of even rehab,” Solis stated.

Kuehl stated the new task if it consisted of near to the original variety of beds supplied under the old proposal, would house a more extensive range of people than all the county medical facilities integrated. California’s biggest state-run psychological health healthcare facility runs about 1,500 beds.

Ridley-Thomas noted that the plan does not mandate a specific variety of beds.

” There is nothing here that is irreparable,” he stated. He included that the more urgent goal is to take down the decrepit Central Jail, an out-of-date lockup that houses people in long rows of cells. “Having them there one day further is just undesirable.”

The board’s action Tuesday implies the Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility, which had remained in development in 2015, will no longer be built. It had been billed as representing a “paradigm shift” in the handling of prisoners.

That policy required prisoners presently held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, the main site for prisoners with mental illness or drug addiction, to be relocated to the brand-new center. Men’s Central Jail inmates would be transported to Twin Towers.

Neighborhood activists have long opposed the building of any brand-new prisons, arguing that the billions of dollars devoted to a new center would be better invested in reentry programs, accessible housing, community-based services, and other options. Hundreds of advocates for jail reform, wearing orange shirts, crowded the auditorium Tuesday to fight the mental health treatment facility, arguing it would become a dressed-up prison

“In the end, they have just approved an agreement to create a psychological health jail, a jail with a bow on it,” Hernandez said. Still, she stated it was a partial victory that years of activism had pressed authorities to seek alternatives to imprisonment.

Also Tuesday, the supervisors voted to kill a long time proposal to transform the Mira Loma detention center in Lancaster into a women’s jail. They supported a relocation presented by Manager Kathryn Barger to take a look at whether economic housing might be built on the site instead.

The supervisors also authorized efforts to produce programs resolving ladies’ requirements in jail, to study most exceptional practices for serving ladies and those with a mental disorder and substance abuse addiction, and check out how to expand diversion programs when it comes to custody.