In a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors decided to cancel a $1.7 billion contract to replace Men’s Central Jail in Downtown Los Angeles.
Back in February, the Board voted to build a mental health facility that would replace the jail. The decision to scrap the contract comes amid criticism that it needs better ways to deal with a growing population of the mentally ill.
Authorities say the current jail is cramped, dilapidated and doesn’t meet the needs of the nation’s largest jail system.
Activists for years have urged the county to divert jail funding into creating community mental health treatment centers and programs.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva called Tuesday’s decision irresponsible, saying it would leave dangerous inmates “without a place to stay” without providing proper treatment for those with mental issues.
We check in on the latest and hear from both sides.
With files from the Associated Press
Matt Stiles, LA Times reporter who has been covering this topic
Lex Steppling, director of campaigns and policy at Dignity and Power Now; he has been working on Justice LA, a campaign to stop jail expansion in LA County
Joseph Charney, he worked on the jail replacement issue as Justice Deputy for the former supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky