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Los Angeles County approves construction of new jails

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LOS ANGELES >> Los Angeles County supervisors are moving forward with the $1 billion construction of new jails to replace aging, overcrowded lockups and provide better treatment to mentally ill offenders.

Supervisors voted Tuesday to resume work on a 3,800-bed facility in downtown L.A. to replace the Men’s Central Jail, built in 1963.

The lockup would be geared to treating the mentally ill. Last week, the county agreed to federal court oversight of jails to ensure better treatment for them following several suicides.

Also approved was a 1,600-bed women’s jail in Lancaster.

The projects were halted in June for a review to determine how many jail beds are needed. Opponents argue community treatment programs could reduce the need.

Supervisors also approved creating a diversion office to find ways of reducing the jail population.

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