Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

L.A. County inmates released to ICE, by the numbers

A Los Angeles County prisoner bus, June 2009. The county participates in the federal 287(g) program.
A Los Angeles County prisoner bus, June 2009. The county participates in the federal 287(g) program.
Photo by 888bailbonds/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Crowding, violence and allegations of civil rights abuses are among the reasons the embattled Los Angeles County jail system is under federal investigation. But the county has also faced criticism in recent years in some circles for its federal-local partnerships with immigration authorities.

Sheriff Lee Baca a supporter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's controversial Secure Communities enforcement program, which allows for the fingerprints of people booked into local jails to be shared with immigration officials. The county has also long participated in a smaller voluntary federal-local partnership called 287(g), in which deportable inmates are identified and released post-conviction to immigration officials.

How many L.A. County inmates are released to ICE? The 2011 numbers are found buried in new report on the county jail system from an independent justice expert, which among other things recommended closing the Men's Central Jail downtown because of violence problems.

According to the report, there were more people released to immigration authorities from county jails than there were inmates transferred to California state prisons. A chart from the report:

The 19,725 releases to immigration authorities made up 14 percent of last years' releases from the county jail system; by comparison, there were 17,816 people released to California prisons, 13 percent of total releases.

According to the report, the focus of the study was the eight-facility "core jail system" and excluded the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster, a facility that ICE contracts from the county and is reserved for immigrant detainees.

The complete report can be downloaded here.