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Criminal Justice

Incarcerated Women And LGBTQ Community Members Get New Services In LA County Jails

An empty concrete courtyard leads to steps on the left and a building with a light golden stone facade.
Metropolitan Detention Center's courtyard in downtown Los Angeles.
(Chava Sanchez
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The L.A. County Board of Supervisors are uniting behind an effort to reduce the numbers of women and LGBTQ community members in the jail system. To that end, the supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve recommendations to get there. The reforms would provide counseling, education and other basic services before and after incarceration.

Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Holly Mitchell introduced the motion. They say addressing these underlying needs would help prevent women and LGBTQ-identifying people from going and returning to jail.

"It's important to understand that having my son in my life, being able to access therapy, having self-help groups, understanding the dynamics of my trauma is what saved me," said Norma Cumpian, a member of the Gender Responsive Advisory Committee, which made the recommendations .

Cumpian was pregnant, in an abusive relationship and an addict when she was put in jail and had to advocate for herself.
L.A. County officials are looking for a report back on the implementation of these reforms in 90 days. The county will also hire a researcher to gather more reliable data on women and LGBTQ-identifying people in the jail system.

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