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The Los Angeles County Jail system has been described as the nation's largest mental health institution. Nearly two-thirds of the inmates are either mentally ill or addicted to drugs. Now, the Board of Supervisors is considering  tearing down part of the Men's Central jail and building a new facility that would provide mental health treatment. Would that be too expensive? Guest host Madeleine Brand speaks with the architect of the plan and to the local legal director of the ACLU, who wants a different approach, one that would keep many inmates out of jail to begin with. Also, a victory for the city's African American community as Metro today approved a subway station at Leimert Park.

Image-for-WWLA.jpgOn our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, with the war in Afghanistan winding down and al Qaeda a weakened enemy, President Obama said today it's time to re-focus America's strategy for national security. Warren Olney considers his latest ideas about using drones for targeted killings and closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay.

Banner image: Seven Morris

Making News Metro Board Approves Rail Stop at Leimert Park 7 MIN, 33 SEC

The vote today at Metro to build a Leimert Park subway stop on the Crenshaw Line is being described as a miracle. It was a hard-fought vote because there are already plans for a station just a half-mile away. But community leaders and businesses rallied for an underground station at Leimert Park, saying it will bring much-needed foot traffic to the area.

Guests:
Neal Broverman, Curbed LA (@nbroverman)
Tunua Thrash, West Angeles Community Development Corporation

Main Topic What to Do about Mentally Ill Prisoners 17 MIN

The Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles is, by any measure, a daunting place. It's in bad physical condition and perennially overcrowded. There are gang fights, beatings and sexual assaults. Many of the inmates are either drug addicts, mentally ill, or both. So the Board of Supervisors this week unanimously passed a resolution to study tearing down part of the jail and building a new facility just for the mentally ill. The idea is that by giving those inmates special attention, they will have a better chance at rehabilitation; and the Supervisors hope that would eventually save the county money.

Guests:
Zev Yaroslavsky, LA County Board of Supervisors (@ZevYaroslavsky)
Peter Eliasberg, ACLU of Southern California (@ACLU_SoCal)

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