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Federal Jails: Design and Construction Flaws in Los Angeles Facility Are Being Corrected

NCJ Number
Date Published
10 pages
This report describes design and construction deficiencies at the Federal Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles (MDC/LA) and actions taken to correct them.
This study responds to allegations that the facility's design makes it vulnerable to escape, that inappropriate material was used in the housing areas, that electrical wiring is inadequately protected against tampering, and that the medical facilities are inappropriate for the type of health care provided at the facility. The study reviewed project files and interviewed officials at MDC/LA and at BOP and General Services Administration headquarters in Washington, D.C. Researchers also interviewed staff and former staff of the project design agent, the structural engineer, and the construction management firm. The study found that most of the design and construction deficiencies were in the segregation unit, located on the eighth floor. Two segregation inmates were able to breach the plaster walls of their cells and enter adjacent cells. The segregation-unit cell doors were also inadequate as inmates forced them open on 12 occasions. Inmates also tampered with electrical switches and light fixtures in their cells. The health unit was not being used in accordance with its design. Measures being taken to correct these deficiencies are described. The necessary renovations will cost approximately $251,000.