Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors:
Supervisor Hilda Solis
Supervisor Holly Mitchell
Supervisor Lindsey Horvath
Supervisor Janice Hahn
Supervisor Kathryn Barger
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Sent via email
RE: Agenda Item No. 7, Expanding the Office of Diversion and Reentry Housing
Honorable members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors:
The JusticeLA coalition is writing to express our support for Agenda Item No. 7, Expanding the Office of Diversion and Reentry Housing. Right now over 40% of people in LA County jails suffer from mental health issues and 67% of women in LA jails have unmet mental health needs. These alarming statistics draw the picture of the human rights crisis inside of LA County jails where hundreds of people are denied diversion opportunities and life-saving healthcare all due to the County’s failure to fund and scale-up the programs that effectively facilitate supportive releases from jail. This motion is an important and incremental step in the right direction as it asks for a ramp-up plan, a timeline, resource needs, and funding sources for a 1000 bed expansion in FY24-25. Relative to the massive need for mental health beds, this motion is actually quite minimal, which is why voting YES on this motion should be an obvious next step for every supervisor.
Right now the County is under tremendous pressure to depopulate LA County jails and build the systems of care and support Angelenos desperately need. The County is facing multiple lawsuits and is in the midst of fielding a visit from the United Nations concerning the deadly conditions inside of the jails. Supporting this motion would demonstrate the Board’s commitment to concrete action for depopulation and diversion. Rather than starting from square one, this motion recognizes a logical pathway for adding more capacity, holding ODR to a timeline for accountability, and securing funding to make sure ODR never has to close its doors again.
The community demands that the Board do the right thing on Tuesday and vote in support of this motion. JusticeLA has the privilege of working with numerous community members whose lives have been changed thanks to ODR’s effective housing program. ODR has helped break decades-long cycles of incarceration for so many Angelenos. A YES vote on this motion is a vote for a Care First Los Angeles.