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Concerns raised over proposal to close some L.A. jails

June 14, 2010 |  6:29 pm

A Los Angeles City Council committee Monday raised concerns about a Police Department proposal to shutter several of its small, satellite jails in order to staff a new, central facility.

In a joint session with the LAPD’s civilian oversight commission, the council’s Public Safety Committee heard LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other officials explain that the agency does not have enough jailers on staff to open the $70-million Metropolitan Detention Center that is larger and more labor-intensive than the dilapidated facility it is meant to replace.

To adequately staff the new jail, where most arrested men would be held while waiting to be arraigned by a judge, the LAPD has proposed that it shutter four small jails at police stations and hire about 50 new jailers.

The closures would result in the loss of 219 beds, 17% of the department’s total jail capacity, officials said. Council members voiced discontent with the idea of closing the smaller jails.

The committee directed the council’s chief administrative officer to return in two weeks with a report on the feasibility of making the hires amid the city’s financial crisis and other options that might prevent the closures.

-- Joel Rubin