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South Bay Digest

L.A. Harbor : 'Floating Prison' Opposed

October 08, 1987

Port of Los Angeles officials and harbor-area politicians have stated their strong opposition to any plans to put a "floating prison" in the city's harbor.

They made their comments at a hearing Monday before the state Legislature's Joint Committee on Prison Construction and Operations. The hearing, held at the Harbor Department, was billed as a forum to explore the possibility of putting inmates on ships to ease overcrowding in California prisons--not to discuss berthing one at the port.

Nevertheless, officials such as Lonnie Tang, port director of commerce; state Assemblyman Dave Elder (D-Long Beach) and Mario Juravich, deputy to harbor-area Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, expressed what Tang called "deep concern over the feasibility and desirability" of a floating prison in the harbor.

Tang said the port, which intends to expand to accommodate an expected increase in business, does not have enough space for a prison. Elder, who asked that the hearing be held at the port, said putting a prison ship there "does not make good economic sense." And Juravich noted that the Los Angeles City Council, at Flores' urging, has gone on record opposing the idea.

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