By Pete Demetriou

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A number of Southland activist groups are opposing efforts by county officials to obtain state funding for jail upgrades and new jail construction.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports they want Los Angeles County supervisors to reject a potential $100 million grant.

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Mary Sutton of Californians United for a Responsible Budget said plans for a new women’s prison in Castaic and other projects are anything but a responsible use of taxpayer dollars.

“If there is construction dollars, what they should be building is housing, job training centers, drug rehab centers,” said Sutton.

That sentiment has been echoed by other groups like Critical Resistance.

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Supervisor Don Knabe said that while he can sympathizes with the protesters, the state-mandated transfer of prisoners from California facilities to local jails has made the grant crucial to protecting public safety.

But not all members of the Board of Supervisors share Knabe’s view: Supervisor Gloria Molina recently expressed concerns over building any new facility without a “comprehensive report” on management inside the county jail system.

“We’re trying to do the continuity service whether it be mental health issues, whether it be drug rehab, whatever it may be, but at the end of the day, we still need jails,” said Knabe.

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The county will find out on Thursday whether the state will allocate the funds under AB 900 to allow that construction to go forward.