Southern California breaking news and trends

LA considering shipping jail inmates to Central Valley

Grant Slater/KPCC

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

Los Angeles jails are expected to run out of space by Christmas, reports the L.A. Times. That proiection is a result of prison realignment, which shifted supervision of those convicted of lower level felonies to local control instead of state prison. To deal with the need for space, some counties are releasing jail inmates early.

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has indicated that's not the direction this county wants to take in the longrun, though there's currently an early release policy in place.

To add space to the system, the department is looking to contract out, possibly to two jails in Kern County, about two hours north of Los Angeles, and a couple others, also in the Central Valley. All in all, the facilities could possibly take in about 2,000 L.A. inmates. 

On KPCC's Airtalk on Tuesday, Sheriff's Spokesman Steve Whitmore said the idea is still in its inception. 

“It’s important to understand that right now these are early talks with the city-owned jails to see if it is feasible," he told KPCC's Larry Mantle. "The most important thing is that the sheriff wants the public to know that public safety is paramount.”  

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