The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Monday pulled plans to discuss a motion to begin the depopulation of local jails during their meeting this week.
Supervisor Hilda Solis said her office received concerns from stakeholders, both opposed and in favor of jail depopulation.
Board Chair Janice Hahn announced she is against the motion and indicated she wants more input from law enforcement groups before moving forward with any proposal.
Solis and fellow Supervisor Lindsey Horvath were advocating for addressing what they call a “humanitarian crisis” at the jails. Their goal was to correct historic wrongs rooted in systemic racism and reverse responses to poverty and mental health.
The plan would have reduced bail for criminals with misdemeanors and some felonies and inmates would serve time mostly under house arrest instead of behind bars.
Opponents, meanwhile, said the plan to depopulate is “dangerous and reckless.”
Eric Siddall, the vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, which represents hundreds of L.A. County prosecutors, said the proposal would “gut” parts of the criminal justice system without input from stakeholders.
“The current proposal directs law enforcement to cite and release suspects for committing offenses like illegally carrying a firearm, domestic violence, possession of child pornography, and violent offenses, including residential burglary, robbery, and assault with a firearm. This program benefits no one except career criminals,” Siddall said in a statement.
Last week, activists gathered in downtown L.A. calling for the Board of Supervisors to come up with a timeline to close Men’s Central Jail by 2025.
They said the conditions inside the jail are inhumane and indicated that more should be done to address homelessness and mental health issues.
The proposal that would have been discussed Tuesday is part of the board’s “Care First, Jails Last” plan which voters approved in 2021. It uses $200 million for youth programs, job training and alternatives to incarceration.
The board at some point will consider demolishing the main jail without a replacement.
In response, the L.A. County Police Chiefs Association said they were blindsided, and that the board is shifting away from sound public safety responses.