New, More Expensive Los Angeles Jail Proposal, LASD Deputies Planted Guns in Marijuana Clinic, DCFS Director on Foster Care Reforms, and the New Clemency CriteriaApril 24th, 2014 by Taylor Walker
LOS ANGELES JAIL REPLACEMENT PROPOSAL RELEASED, AND IS EVEN MORE PRICEY THAN THE LAST TWO BIDS
On Wednesday, Vanir Construction Management Inc. released a report detailing five options for replacing the aging Men’s Central Jail, as requested by the Board of Supervisors. The proposed options range in price from $1.74 billion and $2.32 billion over a ten year period.
This isn’t the first jail construction bid presented to the county. Last July, the jail-replacement proposals ranged in price from $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion.
We presume there’s a good reason for the repeatedly escalated price, and we hope that will be a topic of discussion by the Board of Supervisors.
The LA Times’ Abbey Sewell has the latest on the construction proposals. Here’s a clip:
The county supervisors, concerned about deteriorating facilities and poor living conditions for inmates with mental health issues, want to tear down the aging Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles and replace it. The new facility would be primarily focused on housing inmates with physical and mental health needs and substance abuse issues.
Officials are also contemplating creating a new 1,600-bed women’s jail at the now-vacant Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster, to replace the overcrowded women’s jail in Lynwood.
The plan is not expected to increase the county’s total number of available jail beds, but officials said it would help the county comply with federal mandates on the treatment of mentally ill inmates, and would allow women — who are typically lower risk than male inmates — to be housed in a less restrictive environment with more options for job training and other programs.
The report by Vanir Construction Management laid out five options, all of which involve replacing the Men’s Central Jail. The new facility would hold between 4,860 and 5,860 inmates, depending on the option chosen, with the bulk of the beds set aside for inmates needing medical, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and a smaller number of beds for high-security inmates. Four of the five options also include a new women’s jail.
The construction is projected to cost between $1.74 billion and $2.32 billion over the next 10 years, and after that would add $162 million to $300 million a year to the county’s jail operating costs.
LOS ANGELES DEPUTIES PLANT GUNS IN MARIJUANA CLINIC, FALSELY ARREST TWO MEN
In an alarming story, two former LA County deputies, Julio Martinez and Anthony Paez, are accused of planting two guns in a marijuana dispensary in order to arrest two men. Over a year later, an internal investigation found inconsistencies between the deputies’ report and the dispensary’s surveillance tape.
The ex-deputies face more than seven years each behind bars, if convicted.
ABC7′s Hanna Chu has the story. Here’s a clip:
Julio Cesar Martinez, 39, and Anthony Manuel Paez, 32, were charged on Wednesday with one felony count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and peace officer altering evidence, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office announced. Martinez was also charged with two counts of perjury and one count of filing a false report.
Prosecutors say the deputies wrote a report saying they “witnessed a narcotics transaction and observed one suspect with a firearm” while they were on patrol in the area of West 84th Place on Aug. 24, 2011.
Martinez apparently followed one suspect inside a pot clinic, where he allegedly found a firearm near a trash bin and another next to ecstasy pills. One man was taken into custody for possession of an unregistered firearm, while another man was arrested for possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm.
Charges had been filed against the two men falsely arrested. The case against one of the men was later dismissed, however the other suspect had pled before the corruption was discovered. The district attorney’s office said it was in the process of notifying the man’s defense attorney.
An investigation into the incident about a year later found that the deputies’ report was inconsistent with a video recording from the pot clinic. According to a criminal complaint, Martinez kicked at a wall outlet to shut off electricity inside the room during the incident, while Paez “opened a drawer and retrieved a handgun and placed it on a chair.”
Charges were dropped against one of the two men falsely arrested, but the other was sentenced to a year in jail (according to the LA Times’ Kate Mather).
DCFS DIRECTOR RESPONDS TO BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION’S FINAL REPORT
On Wednesday’s Air Talk, host Larry Mantle talks with Philip Browning, Director of the Department of Children and Family Services about the Blue Ribbon Commission’s final report.
Browning has some interesting things to say about the commission’s recommendations, so take a listen.
Here is a clip from the episode’s summary:
The department’s director, Philip Browning, says they have an oversight body already – the Board of Supervisors. He says many of the ideas have been instituted already – “about 96% have been partially or fully implemented.”
He goes on to say new social-worker training incorporates home-call simulations and promotes critical thinking and common sense. Was the Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection more of the same – or critical to overhaul DCFS? What will the Board of Supervisors decide?
DOJ ANNOUNCES NEW CLEMENCY CRITERIA
On Monday, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new initiative by the Department of Justice to open up the possibility of clemency to low-level drug offenders sentenced under outdated federal guidelines.
On Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole announced the new, broader criteria for clemency applications.
Here’s a clip from the Justice Dept. website:
Under the new initiative, the department will prioritize clemency applications from inmates who meet all of the following factors:
They are currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today;
They are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large scale criminal organizations, gangs or cartels;
They have served at least 10 years of their prison sentence;
They do not have a significant criminal history;
They have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and
They have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.
“For our criminal justice system to be effective, it needs to not only be fair; but it also must be perceived as being fair,” said Deputy Attorney General Cole. “Older, stringent punishments that are out of line with sentences imposed under today’s laws erode people’s confidence in our criminal justice system, and I am confident that this initiative will go far to promote the most fundamental of American ideals – equal justice under law.”