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East L.A. Prison Project Delayed by Judge’s Order

In a lawsuit filed by activists and politicians who oppose putting a prison in East Los Angeles, a Superior Court judge on Thursday delayed the project by ordering the state Department of Corrections to supplement its environmental study on the construction site.

Judge John Zebrowski ruled that the state’s environmental impact report has a “gap” in describing the maximum number of inmates for the proposed $147-million prison.

The suit, filed by the city of Los Angeles, the Coalition Against the Prison in East Los Angeles, the Mothers of East Los Angeles and four local politicians, states that the 1,450-bed prison is being forced on an area that already has a high concentration of prisons and jails.

The ruling requires the state to determine the effect if the number of inmates reaches “a worst-case” level. The environmental report put the prison’s capacity at 190% of design capacity, but attorneys for the city argued that half of the state’s prisons house more than 190% of their designed capacity.

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