LA County Votes to Close Men’s Central Jail, Sheriff Speaks Out Against Move

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to initiate a plan to close the Men’s Central Jail in downtown L.A. within the year, officials said.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is against the decision and tweeted:

The @LACountyBOS believes the most vulnerable @CountyofLA population are criminal offenders. I believe our most vulnerable are the victims of crime.


CBS Local reports the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 Tuesday to initiate a plan to close the Men’s Central Jail within the year.

“LA County is prioritizing our ‘care first, jails last’ approach to criminal justice to demonstrate our commitment to racial and economic justice,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis.

“Closing Men’s Central Jail will restore dignity to our communities. People are not made whole locked up in a decrepit cell. We also recognize that many in our justice-involved population lack access to affordable housing and wraparound services. Providing more permanent supportive housing units where individuals can receive community-based mental health care will give people hope for a new beginning.”

Supervisor Kathryn Barger made clear that her support for gathering additional information about alternatives to a jail did not mean that she supports closing the facility.

Recently, the County and the Sheriff’s Department have agreed that Men’s Central Jail needed to close due to costs related to maintaining the dilapidated facility.

The motion instructs the County Chief Executive Officer to work with the Sheriff’s Department and other relevant departments to develop a cost savings assessment from the closure of Men’s Central Jail.

Since March, various County departments and community-based organizations have worked to reduce the number of people in County jails from 17,000 to 12,000 due to COVID-19.