A proposal to “decarcerate” jails and expedite bails in Los Angeles County was recently withdrawn by board members after running into significant opposition from the public and law enforcement.
The controversial proposal, titled “Los Angeles County to take Actionable Next Steps to Depopulate and Decarcerate the Los Angeles County Jails,” was introduced by Supervisors Lindsey Horvath and Hilda Solisin order to reduce the number of individuals in jails and alleviate overcrowding.
The proposal sought to “declare the state of mental health services and overcrowding in the Los Angeles County jails a humanitarian crisis, requiring the County to move with all deliberate speed on meaningful solutions and prioritize decreasing the number of individuals entering the Los Angeles County jails.”
Solis immediately withdrew the proposal after an outcry from the public, law enforcement and other board members.
“[S]ince the motion was published, my office has received concerns from a variety of stakeholders — those who feel the motion is not doing enough and those who feel it is doing too much. To that end, I will be referring the motion back to my office so that I can continue to gather input from all stakeholders,” Solis said in a statement.
The proposal would have also directed the local sheriff to review its bail thresholds and release “individuals with aggregate bail amounts set at $50,000 or below.”
Under the proposal, the Los Angeles Superior Court would also be directed to “implement the emergency bail schedule” that was put in place during the pandemic to “prioritize increased opportunities for pre-trial release.”
The proposal comes after activists demanded that the Board of Supervisors close the Men’s Central Jail in the downtown L.A. area following the death of three inmates at the jail in a week. The protesters called for a timeline that would end in the jail being completely shut down by March 2025.
Solis believes that the numerous federal consent decrees and settlement agreements the city is facing are burdensome and expensive and are exacerbated by “horrid and inhumane” jail conditions.
“The County is at a point in which immediate action must be taken. However, the authority and responsibility to close Men’s Jail does not rest solely with the Board of Supervisors,” she said. “The board of supervisors has limited jurisdiction and authority over the safe decarceration and diversion of those in County jails, as the authorities lie largely with the Los Angeles Superior Court, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Los Angeles County sheriff.”
Law enforcement leaders and other opponents of the proposal argued that it would worsen crime rates and violence against police officers.
“The reckless behavior will incite violence against police officers,” LAPD detective Jamie McBride told Fox News.
Vice president of the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys, Eric Siddall, also decried the proposal, calling it a “catch-and-release program.”
“The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ motion to gut parts of the criminal justice system without input from stakeholders is dangerous and recklessness,” Siddall said. “The authors sought no advice from those who know and understand public safety issues. They seek to lower the jail population without addressing the root causes of crime or protecting the public.”