Against the backdrop of realignment and rising inmate populations, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department is closing a notoriously rough cellblock. That closure will cost the county 1,000 beds even as its population races towards capacity.

Currently, the county has roughly 20,000 beds for inmates, but tries to keep about 2,000 beds available. That allows flexibility for unforeseen circumstances including situations such as maintenance or if inmates need to be separated. To ensure that enough beds remain available for these eventualities or even just to maintain jail functions, the department is looking at all available options.

Some have recommended electronically monitoring offenders in the community – a service that costs about 25 percent as much as physical incarcerations. Others are calling for more jails be built – but that price tag could approach $1 billion. And the Sheriff’s office is looking at shipping non-violent, long-term inmates to facilities in neighboring Kern or Fresno Counties for detention.

From the Los Angeles Daily News:

Once-crowded cells now sit empty inside Men’s Central Jail, as Sheriff Lee Baca clears out the places where deputies have been accused of beating inmates.

He wants the most violence-plagued modules, which contain about 1,000 beds, shut down before the end of the year.

Read the full article here.