Los Angeles County supervisors unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to study tearing down part of the Men's Central Jail and replacing it with a facility designed for mentally ill and drug-addicted prisoners.
The new facility could save the county millions of dollars and offer inmates a better chance of rehabilitation, according to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who proposed the idea. Yaroslavsky has opposed earlier plans to spend up to $1.4 billion to renovate or replace the Men's Central Jail and the adjacent Twin Towers Jail.
"I am open ... to doing something that costs money if it stands a chance of actually producing results and getting a good product out the door and not just warehousing people," he said.
As many as 70% of all inmates in the county's roughly 23,600-bed jail system are addicted to drugs or suffer from mental illness, according to estimates. By putting many of them in a central location, it will be easier to provide services and house them efficiently, Yaroslavsky said.