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Crime & Justice

New bill would allow counties to release sick and dying inmates



L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca conducts an inspection of Men's Central Jail in Downtown Los Angeles in this photo from December 2011.
L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca conducts an inspection of Men's Central Jail in Downtown Los Angeles in this photo from December 2011.
Grant Slater/KPCC

LA had 10 jail inmates that cost the county $908,312 between October 2011 and April 2012, according to a report by the Bay Citizen. Those inmates were either comatose or required 24-7 medical care. An inmate who needs hospitalization costs the county about $2,000 a day (compared to the average $110 a day for inmates). 

Under a new bill proposed by State Senator Mark Leno, the county would have been able to release those individuals on medical probation or compassionate release, at the moment not an option for county jails. Once released, many inmates would be eligible for state and federal subsidized health care. Their release, even if conditional, could also save security costs. Leno sponsored (and California passed) a similar bill applying to state prisons last year.

The bill is designed to help out county jails grappling with higher populations in the wake of prison realignment. SB 1462 passed the State Senate and will now go to the Assembly. 

Full story here