GUEST COMMENTARY - A dangerous proposal introduced by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Lindsey Horvath to “depopulate and decarcerate” LA County jails by declaring a humanitarian crisis in the County’s jail system was pulled from tomorrow’s Board of Supervisors agenda due to opposition from Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (LAADDA), Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association, Contract Cities and other Supervisors.
“The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ motion to gut parts of the criminal justice system without input from stakeholders is dangerous and reckless. The authors sought no advice from those who know and understand public safety issues. The proposal sought to lower the jail population without addressing the root causes of crime or protecting the public. This catch-and-release program comes without any plan or infrastructure to protect the community from violent criminals apprehended by law enforcement. It creates no lockdown facilities for the mentally ill. It benefits no one except career criminals,” Eric Siddall, Vice President of the LAADD.
“We need to ensure that the most dangerous offenders don’t get out, first-time offenders don’t come back, and those with serious mental illnesses get appropriate care and help. This proposal does none of that,” said Siddall.
Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn issued a statement saying that while she agrees with the need to address jail overcrowding, “any plan to reduce the population of our jails needs to be decided in partnership with law enforcement, our deputy district attorneys and our courts.”
Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she also planned to oppose the motion, as did the California Contract Cities Association, who expressed concern that this action has the potential to adversely impact public safety in Los Angeles County.
“We appreciate Supervisor Hahn’s and Supervisor Barger’s leadership here and for their willingness to join our members in recognizing that the time for applying short-term patches to a festering, decades-old problems is over,” Siddall concluded. “We look forward to working together with them on addressing these issues.”
(The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent representing over 800 Deputy District Attorneys working for the County of Los Angeles.)