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Suit Seeks to Block Jails in Minority Neighborhoods

Legal aid attorneys joined the city of Los Angeles and two state legislators Tuesday in filing suit to prevent the county from building new jails in heavily minority neighborhoods in downtown, East and South-Central Los Angeles.

The Superior Court suit contends that a jail master plan recently approved by the Board of Supervisors violates state law requiring counties to avoid an over-concentration of detention facilities. The suit also accuses the county of failing to assess the environmental impact of the plan, which would boost the county’s jail capacity to 43,230 beds over 20 years.

“We don’t for a minute contest that the county needs to build some additional jail beds, but the question is how many and where you build them,” said Lisa Foster, an attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

Other plaintiffs in the suit include state Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles), Assemblywoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Los Angeles) and the Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles.

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