LA County is in the midst of figuring out what to do about the notoriously awful Men's Central Jail near Union Station. Two months ago, Sheriff Lee Baca proposed a plan that would replace it with a panopticon (that got shot down), and consultants are now exploring other options for the $933-million project. Now County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has a proposal of his own, supported unanimously at this morning's Board of Supervisors meeting: tear down one of the jail's twin towers and replace it with a health care, mental health, and rehab facility for inmates. In his proposal, Yaroslavsky says that the project "could result in better and more humane outcomes for these prisoners as well as a more cost-effective solution to the problem of housing the general jail population." According to the LA Times, some 70 percent of inmates have mental health or drug problems, and Yaroslavsky also notes that proper treatment can dramatically reduce rates of recidivism. No word yet on how much this would cost, but it's possible that state funding could help defray both construction and treatment costs. With today's vote, the consultants will now be instructed to analyze this concept as part of their work.
· L.A. County supervisor outlines a new jail proposal [LAT]
· Men's Central Jail Archives [Curbed LA]