Informational Video Archives

Los Angeles Men's Central Jail inmates live in squalid conditions

By David Ono

Monday, March 23, 2015

Inside the largest jail system in the country

By Lisa Ling

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Exclusive sneak peek: "This is Life with Lisa Ling"

By Lisa Ling

Monday, September 20, 2016

Article Archives

LA County To Expand Popular Pre-Arrest Diversion Program

- By Taylor Walker

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to expand the county’s Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program into new areas of LA County.

Through LEAD officers send people with mental health or substance abuse issues who have committed low-level crimes to community-based services, rather than incarcerating them.

In November 2017, the county launched the LEAD pilot program, modeled after an identical, much-lauded program in Seattle, with $5.9 million in funding from the Board of State and Community Corrections.

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‘Reform LA Jails’ Initiative will Wait for 2020 Vote to Give Watchdog Board More Power

- By Elizabeth Marcellino

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A bid to grant subpoena power to the watchdog commission that oversees the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will go to voters in March 2020, after failing to gain adoption by the Board of Supervisors today.

Backers of the “Reform L.A. Jails Initiative” gathered nearly a quarter-million signatures in support of the measure, which would also give the Civilian Oversight Commission a mandate to study reducing the county jail population and reallocating jail construction dollars into alternatives to incarceration.

“This movement is happening,” Megan Dobkin told the board. “(I’m) a 45-year-old white suburban mom who drives a minivan … and this movement has reached me.”

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To build, or not to build, a new L.A. County jail

- By The Times Editorial Board

Saturday, June 16, 2018

“There is no way you can have effective treatment inside of a jail,” Mark-Anthony Johnson tells a crowd of cheering activists. “It is not possible.”

Hundreds of people pack the Hollywood United Methodist Church on this blustery January evening to hear from Johnson and other leaders of JusticeLA, a group formed to fight what members are calling the planned expansion of the Los Angeles County jail system. It is a battle that has been brewing in one form or another for at least a decade as county officials have sought to tear down the decrepit and dangerous Men’s Central Jail in downtown L.A. and replace it with a more modern facility, designed around the treatment needs of mentally ill inmates.

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LA County Set to Vote on New $2.2 Billion Jail-Clinic Facility

- By Contributing Editor

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pushing back against months of opposition, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Tuesday to approve spending $2.2 billion to replace the nonfunctional downtown Men’s Central Jail with a combination clinic and jail facility.

The final environmental impact report is set to be certified, paving the way to move forward with conceptual designs for what is dubbed the Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility.

The goal is to accommodate a growing number of mentally ill inmates — currently pegged at about 30 percent of the total jail population — as well as individuals in need of medical and substance abuse treatment.

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Men’s Central Jail is ‘falling apart.’

- By Brenda Gazzar

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is poised Tuesday to consider approval of a roughly $2.2 billion correctional treatment facility that would replace the half-century old Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.

The goal of the proposed 3,885-bed facility for men and women is to create “a paradigm shift” by caring for county inmates with mental health, substance abuse and other medical issues by focusing on both treatment and rehabilitation rather than just incarceration, according to proponents.

Men’s Central Jail was built in the 1960s and was not designed to house inmates with medical and mental health conditions, according to the Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials. Not only does the jail with a post-World War II design have old plumbing and electrical systems, officials say, but its overcrowding, linear configuration and lack of sunlight jeopardize the safety of inmates and staff.

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Recidivism rate lowered

- By Neita Cecil

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Recidivism has dropped at the regional jail because of programming implemented to address the problems that send people to jail in the first place, the jail administrator said.

Bryan Brandenburg, administrator of the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility, said recidivism – where people reoffend and end up back in jail – has dropped from 76 percent in 2014, the year before he took over, to just 61 percent today.

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Mental health services are cutting criminal justice detention rates

- By Nadine Ono

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Los Angeles County has been able to provide services and prevention efforts to more than 150,000 residents who have serious mental health needs or are at risk using funds from California’s special tax for mental health services. Providing those services lowered homelessness, the need for psychiatric hospitalizations and involvement with the criminal justice system, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

"Evaluation of the Mental Health Services Act in Los Angeles County: Implementation and Outcomes for Key Programs” found that the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health provided prevention and early intervention services to nearly 130,000 youth and clinical and social services to almost 25,000 and adults from 2012 to 2016.

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Health Care Revamped At L.A. County Jails

- By Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News and Heidi de Marco, Kaiser Health News

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Michael Callahan, an outgoing 43-year-old carpenter, landed in a Los Angeles County jail last September because of what he said were “bad decisions and selling drugs.”

He had uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure when he arrived, but his health was the last thing on his mind. Consumed by a meth addiction, he hadn’t taken his medications for months. “When I got here, I was a wreck,” said Callahan, who is stocky and covered in tattoos. “My legs were so swollen that if I bumped them they would break open.”

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America Badly Needs More Psychiatric-Treatment Beds

- By John Snook & E. Fuller Torrey

Friday, February 23, 2018

In the aftermath of another tragic mass shooting, expanding access to inpatient care for the mentally ill must be a top priority.

In a time of competing narratives and virtually unprecedented levels of polarization, there is one sad truth that Americans can readily agree on: our mental-health system is broken.

Specifically, the U.S. has long faced a critical shortage of inpatient psychiatric-treatment beds, with devastating societal consequences. From its historic peak in 1955 to 2016, the number of state psychiatric-hospital beds in the United States plummeted almost 97 percent, in a trend known as “deinstitutionalization.”

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LA Sheriff needs many more mental health teams, civilian watchdog says

- By Frank Stoltze

Thursday, February 15, 2018

After nearly a year of study, a civilian oversight panel Thursday recommended Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell sharply increase the number of special teams that respond when deputies need help in the field dealing with individuals with mental health problems.

The Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission said the department should increase the number of two-person Mental Evaluation Teams from 17 to 6o. The panel did not place a price tag on the recommendation but said the L.A. County Board of Supervisors should fund it to reduce the number of mentally ill people killed by deputies each year.

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How LA law enforcement deals with mental health population despite lack of resources

- By David Ono

Friday, February 9, 2018

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Eyewitness News examined the dangers of mental illness on Los Angeles streets and how law enforcement is evolving to deal with it.

Security video from two weeks ago showed a large, strong man who suffers from bipolar disorder show up outside of the Lakewood sheriff's substation with what appeared to be a violent intent.

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California's mentally ill inmate population keeps growing. And state money isn't enough to meet needs, lawmaker says

- By Jazmine Ulloa

Friday, February 2, 2018

Gov. Jerry Brown has earmarked $117 million in his new state budget to expand the number of treatment beds and mental health programs for more than 800 mentally ill inmates found incompetent to stand trial.

State officials said they have struggled to keep up with the needs of a population that has jumped in size by 33% over the last three years, as judges are increasingly referring defendants to treatment. But one state lawmaker says additional funds are not enough.

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Reaching inside the jails to break the cycle of homeless arrests

- By Doug Smith

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A door opened, and three men walked out of captivity into a sun-drenched waiting area. It’s a scene repeated hundreds of times a day at Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail.

But instead of being greeted by family members and friends, these men were met by Victor Key, a case manager for Project 180, a downtown agency that is on the front line of a homeless strategy called jail in-reach.

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Spike in Mentally Ill LA Jail Inmates Leads to New Policies

- By Michael Balsamo

Saturday, April 29, 2017

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Perhaps the largest group of mentally ill inmates in the U.S. resides in Los Angeles in one of the world's largest jail complexes.

Over the past seven years, the jail's population has spiked almost 50 percent — with nearly every inmate having both mental illness and substance abuse problems — and officials suspect the rise is due to methamphetamine use.

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Los Angeles Men's Central Jail inmates live in squalid conditions

- By David Ono

Monday, March 23, 2015

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald will be the first to tell you that the Men's Central Jail is filled with health code violations.

For McDonnell, it's a maddening issue.

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