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Metro Digest

Local News in Brief : New Jail Filling Quickly

November 13, 1987

The newest jail in the Los Angeles County detention system, the 1,600-bed medium-security facility unveiled Thursday at Peter J. Pitchess Honor Rancho in Saugus, will probably be at its capacity of prisoners by the end of the week, authorities said.

Sheriff Sherman Block said the largely prefabricated jail built in 16 months is more a Band-Aid on the county's jail overcrowding problem than a solution.

During unveiling ceremonies Thursday, dozens of public officials lauded the new jail's design and its quick and inexpensive construction--$16 million, or about $50,000 per bed less than the national average, officials said.

But Block said it is not the answer to the county's crunch for jail space: "We are terribly overcrowded. This will give us a little immediate relief."

Detention deputies today are scheduled to begin moving more than 400 prisoners from the Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles to the new facility, officials said. Already, in the month since the jail was officially put to use, about 1,100 prisoners, many from the central jail, have been moved in.

The reason for the transfers and the quickly dwindling space in the new jail is because the county is under an order by a federal judge to reduce the inmate population at the Central Jail to 6,800 inmates by Jan. 1.

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