County supervisors vote down Mira Loma women’s prison planMai Nguyen Do February 15, 2019 0 COMMENTS
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday night to reject the $215 million plan to construct a women’s correctional facility at the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster.
The board’s vote against the new prison comes following pressure from local criminal justice organizations and community opposition. The Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission also voted unanimously to oppose the plan.
“We should be standing on the right side of history,” Reform Los Angeles Jails chairperson and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said of the county’s correctional system. “We should be standing for human life, for human dignity, and we know all too well that the people who are impacted by these jails are largely poor, black, brown, queer, women, trans — are at the margins.”
Until recently, the Mira Loma Detention Center has been under contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a detainment site for immigrant detainees.
“Mira Loma would not have best served women, their families or their community,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said Tuesday. “Now, we must determine a path forward that enhances diversion, supports women and their families and therefore protects public safety.”
In addition to scrapping the Mira Loma jail, the board also unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger to repurpose the Mira Loma site into a facility that provides increased housing options for the community.
“Since the county will no longer look to the Mira Loma facility for incarceration or rehabilitation, we have an opportunity to utilize the property to provide this community with needed housing options,” Barger said. “It is a win-win for the Antelope Valley and we look forward to seeing how this facility can work along with the Kensington Campus and the High Desert MACC to address the housing needs in our region.”
Barger’s proposal directs county agencies to work with other stakeholders, including the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, to report back with a plan for the new housing facilities, including recommendations for construction, budgetary needs and possible funding sources, in 90 days.
Mai Nguyen Do is a Vietnamese American poet and researcher. She is a lifelong Santa Clarita resident and a College of the Canyons graduate. She is also the author of Ghosts Still Walking (2016) and Battlefield Blooming (2019). Find her on Twitter @DoNguyenMai.