Protesters Rally in Downtown LA Against New Jail Construction

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Dozens of protesters rallied downtown today to urge the Board of Supervisors not to spend money on new jail construction.

 Advocates for criminal justice reform, dressed in orange T-shirts reading ``I am not the property of L.A. County jail,'' set up bunk beds in the middle of Temple Street to simulate a jail setting. Rallying in front of the Kenneth Hahn of Administration as the board met inside, they shouted ``No more jails!'' and speakers called for a moratorium on new jail construction.

The county has plans to build a 3,885-bed jail/treatment facility in downtown Los Angeles to replace the rundown Men's Central Jail and a 1,604-bed women's lockup in Lancaster.

Activists say forecasts used by the county overestimate the need for jail beds and have fought for funds to be diverted to community resources like youth programs and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

The board was set to approve additions to its annual budget at today's meeting.

The rally closed Temple Street between Grand Avenue and Hill Street to motorists and created heavy traffic in the area. Protesters stood at the intersection of Temple and Grand with a banner reading, ``Los Angeles operates the largest jail system on Earth.''

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