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LA County Looks for Ways to Close Downtown Men’s Central Jail in 12 Months

By Elizabeth Marcellino, City News Service LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A proposal to close Men's Central Jail within one year drew fire today from residents worried about the public safety ramifications and cheers from advocates of diversion for people accused of low-level crimes or suffering from mental illness. The board voted unanimously in favor of a proposal co-authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl directing an existing task force to map out what would be required to close an antiquated and dilapidated facility that even Sheriff Alex Villanueva called a...

Inmates Hunger Strike In Protest Of Coronavirus Measures

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Hundreds of Orange County Jail inmates went on a hunger strike this past weekend to protest the suspension of visiting hours and hot meal service during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it quickly ended when warm meals were restored, officials said today. About 300 inmates at the Theo Lacy Facility and another 120 at the Men's Central Jail in Santa Ana stopped eating Saturday, said Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The inmates engaged in the strike demanded that hot meals be served again and family...

Sheriff Enlists Crime Victims in Budget Battle

WHITTIER (CNS) - In a fight to preserve funding for his department during a time of deep across-the-board budget cuts in Los Angeles County, Sheriff Alex Villanueva today decided to let crime victims speak for him. In a series of emotional pleas, families devastated by violent crimes spoke out against eliminating various detective units and a plan to close Men's Central Jail. What no speakers at the afternoon news conference mentioned is that the county has never proposed eliminating any of those bureaus, though the board is considering shuttering the deteriorating downtown jail.

Los Angeles City Council Poised to Cut $150 Million from Police Budget

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A $150 million cut to the Los Angeles Police Department's budget for the next fiscal year is on the table today, as the City Council will vote on its final adjustments to the 2020-2021 spending plan before taking a summer recess. The City Council's Budget and Finance Committee voted recently to reduce the cut to the LAPD by about $17 million and use most the money to stop possible furloughs of city employees, but during a late-Monday meeting, the committee voted to restore the $150 million reduction and use most...

LA County Board Considers Re-allocating Jail Funding, New 911 System

By Elizabeth Marcellino, City News Service LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted today to consider shifting some money and responsibility away from the Sheriff's Department to other county services, potentially using jail funding for diversion and treatment programs. The board also advanced a motion to set up a 911-like system for residents to call for unarmed help. Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis co-authored a motion to look at reallocating AB109 state funding from custody and probation operations to diversion, substance abuse...

LA County Commission Recommends Significant Changes to Policing

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations released a report today recommending changes to policing in Los Angeles County, calling for an end to qualified immunity, reallocation of funding to community initiatives, and assigning use-of-force investigations to special prosecutors outside the D.A.'s office. "Redefining Policing with Our Community" offered 34 recommendations the commission says seek to "build a new normal that prioritizes human dignity and repairs the damage done by discriminatory policies and practices." Launched as a part of a 2015 project to commemorate the 50th...