First District Supervisor Gloria Molina said that the county is putting a lot of money into this solution but was still skeptical. “We’re treading water here,” she said. Baca was cautious too, saying the faces inside the county’s jail system have changed significantly over time and that many of today’s jail inmates are hard-core criminals who belong in prison. He said that about 95 percent of the county’s jail convictions are the result of plea bargaining and that if judges feel strongly about that, then they should send these people to prison – but that would require trials on an already overburdened criminal court system. The sheriff’s proposal on Tuesday also included canceling a contract with California’s prison system that housed prisoners in county jails. The move will open up an additional 1,290 beds. Those prison inmates living in county jails will be transferred to state prisons incrementally over the next six months, said Anna Pembedjian, justice deputy to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. The county has earmarked funds in this year’s budget to cover the cost of jail expansion and construction. firstname.lastname@example.org (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.“We can re-prioritize the early-release program, and keep offenders in for much longer,” Baca said. Doors to the new facility planned for Pitchess are expected to open by 2010. Meanwhile, there will be public hearings and environmental impact reports conducted for Sybil and Pitchess. Eventually, female inmates will be moved to both facilities from Lynwood’s Century Regional Detention Facility, a high-security jail with about 1,460 cells, where county officials hope to transfer male inmates from other jails who need more isolation. Women were moved to the previously closed Lynwood facility in March from Twin Towers to make more room for men there, following violent clashes in the county jails that left two dead and hundreds injured. Although supervisors unanimously approved the expansion proposal, some wondered if the plan goes far enough to address the county’s future prison needs. A $257-million plan approved Tuesday to reduce overcrowding in Los Angeles County jails could add about 1,000 inmates at the Pitchess Detention Center. Los Angeles County Supervisors voted unanimously to back the plan, which includes building a medium-security facility for women at Pitchess and reopening the Sybil Brand Institute – an East Los Angeles women’s jail that closed in 1998 – where another 1,000 females will be housed. The measure is less drastic and cheaper than some presented to the board last month by the Sheriff’s Department and the county’s chief administrative officer. Ranging up to $1 billion, those plans also could have delivered up to 2,400 more inmates to the Castaic jail complex, now home to 9,000 inmate. With more county jail space, Sheriff Lee Baca on Tuesday said the department can reevaluate its early-release program. With fewer beds than inmates, the department says it has been forced to release inmates early, with many serving just 10 percent of their sentences.
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