Letters to the Editor: Jackie Lacey: How L.A. County has curtailed crime and coronavirus in jails

Men's Central Jail
Cyclists ride past Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles on March 24, 2020.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board’s opinion about the race for Los Angeles County district attorney and my office’s handling of county jails during the coronavirus pandemic is based on false information.

On March 16, nearly a month prior to the state Supreme Court chief justice issuing her zero-bail order, I proactively directed my prosecutors to identify pretrial inmates who could be safely released to free up space in the jail so that remaining inmates could be quarantined.

Implementation of the zero-bail order resulted in 212 inmates being added to a list of 800 inmates we had previously agreed could be released. We implemented a similar measure for juveniles.


In no small part due to our actions, our jails have done a better job of controlling the coronavirus than most public institutions in the country. In six weeks the jail population went from 17,000 to 11,900. Crime is down.

If you aren’t seeing leadership in this situation, it is because you haven’t bothered to look.

Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles

The writer is district attorney of Los Angeles County.