L.A. County Supervisors Mull Alternatives to Incarceration
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
LOS ANGELES -- Jails and prisons across California are moving toward alternatives to incarceration, and today the LA County Board of Supervisors will vote on reforms laid out in a new working group report.
The report's first recommendation is to expand programs for emergency psychiatric care and restorative justice that address underlying issues. Kent Mendoza, policy manager with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, said our justice system should be less punitive and more concerned with rehabilitation.
"The way you hold people accountable is by actually helping them change," Mendoza said. "So when they come home, they're better than they were when they went in."
The push for alternatives to incarceration sprang out of the movement to stop the county from pouring billions into new jails, and use the funds to instead help people stay out of the criminal justice system in the first place.
The LA County Jail system is the largest in the country, holding more than 17,000 people. More than 30% need mental-health services and 60% suffer from substance-abuse disorders.
The report also called for programs better tailored to addressing the needs of LGBTQ people in the system. Mendoza said no one should be housed where they may not be safe, especially transgender people.
"They're always in a category where they are a target to other inmates," he said. "They have to navigate through a whole different type of drama while being in the jail."
A bill currently before the state Assembly, SB 132, would require that transgender people be housed according to their gender identity and not their sex assigned at birth.
Other recommendations in the report include prioritizing behavioral health responses over a law-enforcement approach and improving pretrial release and diversion services to help people get back on their feet.
get more stories like this via email
The work of some nonprofit organizations has only increased with the pandemic and the needs that have come from it. An author and expert in the field …
By Lourdes Medrano for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Arizona News Connection, reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …
Hispanic Heritage Month began in mid-September and runs through Oct. 15, and a financial institution in Washington state is finding unique ways to …
Conservation groups say more needs to be done to protect the natural and cultural resources of Utah's Labyrinth Canyon from off-road vehicles…
Despite being aimed at children in kindergarten through third grade, Florida teachers say what's often referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law has …
Consumer groups are pressing for legislation to reform the way credit agencies handle errors on credit reports. The calls to amend the Fair Credit …
A relatively small number of so-called "super emitters" are responsible for 40% of the methane emissions in oil and gas hotspots such as California's …
As "Banned Books Week" comes to a close, Connecticut libraries have been celebrating with great fervor - despite numerous book bans and challenges…