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Lack of Buses Keeps Los Angeles Inmates From Court Appearances

Up to one-third of the 12,000 inmates in Los Angeles County jails are unable to attend their court appearances due to a shortage of operational buses, the Associated Press reports. The LA County Sheriff’s Department currently has only 23 operable buses out of a total of 82, and there have been days when as few as six were running, supervisors said. The buses currently in operation may not last through the end of the year, though they transport 1,500 inmates daily from the county's seven lockups to courthouses, medical appointments and state prisons.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to implement an interim plan to get more working buses running from jails to courthouses and medical appointments. The plan involves borrowing vehicles from neighboring counties and enlisting the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to assist in transporting some inmates to state prisons. Though there is money for new buses in the budget, the board said it will take up to 1 1/2 years for the 20 new buses to arrive and be fortified with security renovations so they can be used for transporting inmates. Because of the problems, critics say, the county’s jails are overcrowded with incarcerated people who might have been released by a judge or sentenced to a state prison -- if they had appeared in court. Half of people held in county lockups are pre-trial and have not yet been sentenced.


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