About the Initiative

Reform L.A. Jails is a coalition of jail and prison experts, public safety and criminal justice reform leaders, residents, business owners and the community at large working to pass the Reform Jails and Community Reinvestment Initiative.

The Reform Jails and Community Reinvestment Initiative does two things.

First, it will ensure that the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Civilian Oversight Commission has the tools necessary to do its job.  The initiative would grant the Commission subpoena power to effectively and independently investigate misconduct and require the attendance of witnesses and production of evidence connected to their investigations and oversight.

Subpoena power would allow the Commission to compel personnel to give testimony regarding practices in the department. Sheriff Jim McDonnell has been proactive in addressing misconduct and has been met with staunch resistance by the sheriff’s union. If the Sheriff himself is limited by his own department, then it is imperative for the Commission to have the power to proactively identify misconduct. That means subpoena power.

Second, the initiative will task the Civilian Oversight Commission with developing a Comprehensive Public Safety Reinvestment Plan and Feasibility Study to reduce jail populations and to redirect the cost savings into alternatives to incarceration.  This paves the way for the County of Los Angeles to reduce recidivism, prevent crime, and permanently reduce the population of people cycling in and out of jail that are experiencing mental health, drug dependency, or chronic homelessness issues.

Powered by Reform L.A. Jails, The Reform Jails and Community Reinvestment Initiative is a sensible approach to develop a new public safety strategy to save County resources and to protect, restore, and strengthen our communities.

The Plan will identify needed prevention and treatment programs to stop crime cycles and will map out steps to create a new public safety approach to bring Los Angeles County into alignment with best practices to reduce crime by redirecting resources.

Most people in Los Angeles County jails are awaiting trial or were sentenced for nonviolent offenses. Many have unaddressed mental health or substance abuse issues and many are homeless upon release. Los Angeles County has the largest population of people in jail with mental illness of any jail system in the country and urgently needs a more effective strategy to stop the cycle of crime and to save County resources.