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Pitchess Safe From Closures For Now

Medium-security prison secure for now, but budget woes could force some inmate movement.

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Reports of the closure of North County Correctional at
Pitchess Detention Facility are greatly exaggerated, according to those close
to Sheriff Lee Baca, who made that prediction to the media when asked about
budget cutbacks.

“This is very preliminary,” said Steve Whitmore, Baca’s
spokesperson. “We’re waiting for the budget, which is a very long process.”

County department heads were asked to examine their
operating costs this month to find ways of cutting back 5 percent in light of
restricted funding coming from Sacramento.

“There is the potential that we’ll have to take a $72
million cut,” Whitmore continued. “If we had to cut back, the first thing to go
would be the old side of Men’s Central Jail (in downtown LA). That would be
first, if we had to go with closing anything.”

Asked about the local closure, he said that there is a
chance that phasinc out North Facility could be in the distant future.

“There is the possibility that we would look at closing
North Facility, which houses about 1,500, but that would be months down the

According to the sheriff’s website, Pitchess Detention
Center North Facility is a maximum security complex capable of holding 1,500
inmates. The facility is comprised of four individual concrete modules with
four dormitory-style living quarters, eight disciplinary cells, a multipurpose
room, a medical center, a visiting center and three security stations.