Motion to Release Inmates and Implement Alternatives to Incarceration in LA County Jails Faces Hurdles

Solis-Horvath motion includes proposals for electronic monitoring, zero-bail system, and legislative changes to address overcrowded jails

By Sam Catanzaro

A proposal to declare a humanitarian crisis in Los Angeles County’s overcrowded jails and begin efforts to reduce the inmate population was pulled from Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors agenda after facing backlash from law enforcement organizations and some board members. 

The motion, introduced by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Lindsey Horvath, aimed to “depopulate and decarcerate” the jails and implement measures such as the use of electronic monitoring as an alternative to incarceration, advocating for a zero-bail system for pre-trial population, requesting the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to take sentenced individuals to prison and advocating for legislative changes for compassionate release of medically fragile inmates.

However, the motion faced opposition from law enforcement groups, including the Los Angeles County Association of Deputy District Attorneys and the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association, who criticized it as “dangerous and reckless” and expressed concerns about community safety and quality of life. Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn and Supervisor Kathryn Barger also announced their plans to oppose the motion.

As a result, Supervisor Solis withdrew the motion from the agenda and stated that she would continue to gather input from stakeholders to strike a balance between justice advocates and public safety representatives. She also mentioned the need to comply with federal obligations, including consent decrees and settlement agreements, which could potentially result in a receivership from the State.

Opponents of the motion argued that it lacked input from stakeholders and raised concerns about releasing inmates without proper community protections in place. They also highlighted the potential rise in crime and reduced quality of life that similar efforts to reduce inmate populations in state prisons have allegedly led to in the past.

The motion was part of the Board of Supervisors’ ongoing efforts to implement a “care first, jails last” agenda, which includes the contentious issue of closing the Men’s Central Jail without constructing a replacement facility. The motion will likely undergo further revisions and discussions before being reconsidered by the Board of Supervisors.

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