Crime & Justice

LA County moves forward with jails despite protest

In this Sept. 28, 2011 photo, people walk past the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Men's Central Jail facility in Los Angeles. L.A. County Supervisors on Tuesday approved $106 million in funding to plan a nearly 4,000-bed replacement for the jail and an environmental impact report for a 1,600-bed women's jail in Lancaster.
In this Sept. 28, 2011 photo, people walk past the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Men's Central Jail facility in Los Angeles. L.A. County Supervisors on Tuesday approved $106 million in funding to plan a nearly 4,000-bed replacement for the jail and an environmental impact report for a 1,600-bed women's jail in Lancaster.
Damian Dovarganes/AP

Los Angeles County supervisors have moved forward with plans to build two jails with thousands of beds — but not before shouting protesters temporarily shut down the meeting.

After a short recess, supervisors on Tuesday approved an environmental impact report for a 1,600-bed women's jail in Lancaster and $106 million in funding to plan a nearly 4,000-bed replacement for the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell says the central jail is obsolete and a $2 billion replacement would combine incarceration with treatment for the large number of inmates with mental problems and drug or alcohol addictions.

Activists, some wearing hazmat-style white jumpsuits, shouted against jail construction, arguing among other things that the Lancaster jail would expose inmates to the soil-based fungus that causes deadly Valley Fever.