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LA Board of Supes Delays Vote on Motion for Blue Ribbon Commission for Probation Reform.

October 7th, 2016 by Celeste Fremon


On Tuesday, the members of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors were slated to vote on a motion to create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Probation Reform. The proposed commission, if formed, would be tasked with the goal of assessing problems within the troubled LA County Probation Department, and then recommending reforms to better protect and rehabilitate the approximately 1000 kids in the county’s 13 juvenile camps and three juvenile halls, along with improving the lot of the approximately 72,00 adults under county supervision, particularly the AB 109 probationers who need help with reentry in order to better restart their lives

Supervisor Shiela Kuehl proposed that a vote on the motion, be postponed for two more weeks in order to fine-tune the shape and function of the Blue Ribbon Commission that the motion proposes.

As it stands now, Tuesday’s motion-–sponsored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis—calls for the creation of a 12-member commission, with two members to be appointed by each of the supervisors, one with expertize in the juvenile side, the other with experience on the adult side. The remaining two commissioners would be chosen by the first ten from a pool of possibilities put forth by the board. The commission would be chosen in early November, and sunset after six months, with the commission’s recommendations for reform due to the board on May 4, 2017.

The motion makes a general case for why such a commission is called for on top of the working group that is presently exploring what kind of civilian oversight is needed to monitor the probation department.

It describes the bad old days in probation’s recent past that, on the juvenile side, brought Department of Justice monitors into the halls and camps from 2004 to 2015, along with a monster class action suit filed in 2010, “due to the failure” of probation “to provide adequate education to youth in the camps,” even “locking students in solitary confinement for weeks or months without attending school.”

The motion goes on to detail the string of red flags still conspicuously visible in the department, that make clear that all is not well. There are, for example, the audits and investigations of the last two years that “have revealed staff misconduct and mismanagement of funds,” like the stunning amounts of unused state grant funds that probation has been squirreling away under its mattress, namely the $140.5 million of SB 678 funds, that should have been used for reentry programs for AB 109 probationers, and the over $21 million in unspent Juvenile Justice and Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA) funds intended to support programs that help kids stay out of the justice system.

(WLA reported the stories here and here).

Then there are the latest alarming revelations, like the news that use of force incidents in the county’s juvenile halls nearly doubled from January to July 2016, and that there were other “allegations of misconduct in the camps and halls”—such as WLA’s recent stories about staff allegedly assaulting kids in two different juvenile halls.

The board previously created the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence, and the Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection, the recommendations from which helped to bring about positive changes for the troubled Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and for the county’s chronically dysfunctional Department of Children and Family Services.

The motion suggests hopefully that a similar “panel of independent experts could spur the same type of change that is so badly needed in the [Probation] Department.”


Most of the reform advocates who spoke on the issue at Tuesday’s meeting said they were in favor of the motion, and supported the idea of the commission. But most also presented some kind of caveat or cautionary note.

For example, Max Huntsman, L.A. County’s Inspector General appointed to oversee the Sheriff’s Department, reminded the board that the problems it hopes the commission will correct, have been present “for decades.” He knows this, he said, because of his own experiences in the juvenile camps when he began as a prosecutor, 25 years ago.

Huntsman told those assembled how, on one trip to one of the camps, he “observed a deputy probation officer” giving a speech to kids first arriving at the facility “in which he urged them not to be homosexual.” And “that was their introduction to their new custody experience,” Huntsman said adding that although the DPO’s startling speech was the “first disillusioning thing” he witnessed at the probation department, “it wasn’t the last.”

Probation commissioner, Sal Martinez, who spent time in the camps himself as a teenager, said he hoped the proposed commission will introduce “a blueprint of reform and transparency” with “the mission and vision” of rebuilding the lives of the kids in the county’s care. “Those kids need you,” he said.


Not all of the juvenile advocates who spoke were convinced that the Blue Ribbon Commission idea was the answer.

Kim McGill of the Youth Justice Coalition noted that the county has, at present, 169 commissions, thus if this commission was going to be launched, she said she wanted to know that it was going to be done the right way. Most importantly, said McGill, the plan must necessitate that some of the commissioners be “people who have been impacted by the system.” Before she supported the motion, McGill said, “we want an opportunity for real engagement with the community” on the issue. And that any leadership body must “prioritize a moratorium on jail expansion and the closing of at least one juvenile hall, and half of the camps.”

Javier Stauring who, for the last twenty years oversaw the detention ministry programs in all the juvenile halls and probation camps in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, was also very concerned about the make-up of any commission.

“True reform will only happen when the people calling the shots see the children under probation’s jurisdiction as if they were their own children.”

For years, he said, experts been “telling the gatekeepers that what our youth really need is help in processing and healing from the trauma that is all too common and disproportionately impacts families who struggle with the effects of poverty.

He supported the commission, Stauring said finally. “But only if it’s made up of people who love our children.”

The revised motion to create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Probation Reform is now due to come to a vote on Tuesday, October 18.

In the meantime, there is no firm word on when the board will make its selection for the new probation chief.

Posted in Probation | No Comments »

LA County Supes to Vote on Creating a Blue Ribbon Commission on Probation Reform — UPDATED

October 4th, 2016 by Taylor Walker

UPDATE: On Tuesday, after hearing from advocates and others concerned about certain aspects of a motion to create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Probation Reform, the LA County Supervisors decided to postpone the scheduled vote for two more weeks in order to clarify and improve on the proposed plan. WLA will have more on this story tomorrow.

Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is slated to consider a motion to form a Blue Ribbon Commission on Probation Reform (similar to the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence) to assess problems within the troubled department and to coordinate and bring about reforms to better protect and rehabilitate kids in camps and the youth and adults under supervision.

Here’s a clip from the motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis explaining the need for a blue ribbon panel:

Significant work is underway with the potential to produce meaningful outcomes; however, there is a deficiency in the synchronization of all the current moving elements. A commitment to existing efforts is critical, but integration is required to ensure that true culture change in the Department can be sustained.

Furthermore, new evidence continues to emerge that the Department is still troubled and that additional strategies are needed. As an example, the Department presented data to the Probation Commission showing that use of force incidents in the juvenile halls had nearly doubled from January to July 2016. Other allegations of misconduct in the camps and halls have also surfaced, indicating systemic issues. Despite years of attempted reform, and a growing price tag of operating the camps and halls (with an estimate from a Department audit of a rate of $552 per youth per day), there is widespread concern amongst the Board, Department leadership, and community stakeholders that sustainable reform has yet to be realized. Moreover, the current efforts, while bold and important, are not exhaustive. Gaps still remain in what the Board is currently assessing regarding Department reform. These gaps include: the implementation of state mandates aimed at the adult population, including SB 678 and AB 109; communication and coordination with other agencies serving the same youth and families; racial and ethnic disparities in youth detention and incarceration; inadequate high-quality alternatives to incarceration; and a process for calculating the allocation of Department resources, including opportunities for community input.

The Department’s continued struggle to fulfill its mission of keeping its clients safe, let alone provide for their rehabilitation, underscores that more is still needed and that new approaches should be explored. The time has come for the Board to confirm its commitment to transparency, accountability and sustained transformation. The Board would be best informed by an independent review from an external panel of recognized experts on how, in coordinating the many existing efforts aimed at structural reform and adopting other necessary policy and practice changes, the Department can finally fulfill its mission of protecting, rehabilitating and supervising youth and adults. This type of independent review has been essential in moving forward change in other areas. For example, the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence was the impetus for creating the Office of Inspector General, which is positioned to play a prominent role moving forward in providing meaningful oversight of and pushing forward improvements in the jails.

The ACLU of Southern California supports the motion. (So does WitnessLA.) “The Commission is needed because of both the significant and longstanding problems within the Department over the past decade or more and the need for a comprehensive, and unified set of recommendations to chart a path for change for the Department,” said SoCal ACLU’s Chief Counsel, Peter Eliasberg in a letter to the board.

In addition, the ACLU expressed concerns about three of the five candidates identified as finalists by WitnessLA, stating that it “does not believe they have the necessary background and experience to move the department beyond its troubled past.”

We’ll let you know what happens at the Supes’ meeting.

Posted in Juvenile Probation, LA County Board of Supervisors, Probation | No Comments »

Controversial New Probation Policy Makes It Easier for Staff to Get Promoted After Being Disciplined for “Inappropriate Conduct”

September 26th, 2016 by Celeste Fremon

Los Angeles County Probation has recently instituted a policy
making it easier for staff who have prior discipline problems to receive promotions, but not everyone is pleased by this development.

The policy, which is the result of a deal struck between county officials and probation’s labor unions, has been greeted with alarm by critics who point to a still troubled department with a history of mistreating the children in its care, and a penchant for tolerating extravagant, and sometimes criminal misconduct by a portion of its sworn employees.

The agency’s previous chief, Jerry Powers (who departed under a cloud last year), came to the job in late 2011 with a mandate to institute broad reforms. Yet many probation employees, along with union leadership, complained that Powers instead often caused deserving staff to be blocked from advancement for trivial infractions, whereas higher-ups who broke rules experienced no such consequences.

Those who favor the new policy maintain that the revised guidelines for promotions simply give a second chance to otherwise worthy people who’ve made minor mistakes.

Yet critics of the policy fear that county officials wrongly caved in to pressures by the unions, and that problems will result. To illustrate their concerns, they point to certain sections of the new guidelines, which seem to wink at behavior that should be disqualifying.

For instance, under the revised policy, one is eligible for a promotion after having engaged in certain kinds of “inappropriate conduct,” and long as one has not engaged in said conduct “two or more times,” within 60 months, which would constitute a “pattern.” Examples of the conduct in question are listed as those concerning issues such as:

behavior unbecoming peace officer;
moral turpitude
unreasonably or unjustified use of force.

Yet, in certain instances, even if there is two or more instances of ‘moral turpitude” or “unjustified use of force,” or whatever else, according to the guidelines, executive management may still step in and make it possible for the staff member to promote.

(You can find the guidelines here if you want to take a look for yourself.)

On Sunday, the LA Times ran an excellent story by Abby Sewell and Garrett Therolf about the new agreement and the issues swirling around it.

In researching their story, the Times obtained a copy of the list of 57 people who are to be promoted based on the new policy. Here’s some of what Sewell and Therolf discovered about those 57:

They included one worker who was disciplined in 2012 for putting his hands around a juvenile’s neck, in 2013 for injuring another juvenile, and in 2014 for abusive language, dishonesty and failure to perform his duties, according to a source with access to his file.

Another worker had been disciplined in 2011 for misuse of force for striking a juvenile, according to a source with access to his file. A third had been given a 20-day suspension in 2012 for “failure to properly supervise” and “failure to exercise sound judgment.”

That arose from a 2010 incident in which she was on duty in a dormitory at one of the juvenile lockups and one minor was assaulted by another and sustained a serious jaw injury. The department’s investigation found that the officers on duty “allowed the dormitory to remain in a chaotic state with virtually no supervision.”

And then there was this:

One beneficiary of the new policy was an officer who was disciplined for excessive force after slamming a boy’s head into a bed frame. Officials gave him a 15-day suspension, according to a county official with access to his file who requested anonymity because California law prohibits the disclosure of peace officer discipline. After the rule change, he was promoted earlier this year, helping to raise his pay by more than $9,500 above last year’s total compensation of $95,000, county officials said.

According to a conversation the Times had with interim probation chief Cal Remington, an additional 18 probation employees, “some with more serious misconduct,” are currently being considered for promotion.

(PS: Be sure to read the rest of Sewell and Therolf’s story.)

Posted in Probation | 4 Comments »

Will the LA County Board of Supes Consult Community Experts Before Choosing a New Probation Chief?

September 15th, 2016 by Celeste Fremon

Last week we wrote about the five finalists being considered for the position
of chief of Los Angeles County’s Department of Probation, the largest such agency in the nation, and an agency still—to put it politely—loaded with challenges.

At that time, it seemed that, after months of delay, the five members of the county’s board of supervisors were speeding toward a decision.

But since we last wrote, it seems that that they may possibly have put on the brakes, at least a little, to allow room for further deliberation.

Or maybe not.

Frankly, it’s hard to tell, since the board has not been terribly forthcoming about the process.

In the meantime, three prominent youth experts, who represent three organizations that each do significant work with the county’s kids, have written an op ed for the Daily News in which they ask he supes to please include members of the larger community in their decision making, rather than doing the whole thing in secret, as is the case now.

The three authors are Alex Johnson, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund-California; Susan Lee, executive director of the Urban Peace Institute; and Diwaine Smith, a community organizer at the Youth Justice Coalition, who had his own interactions with the probation and courts system when he was younger.

Here are some clips from what the three wrote about the importance of engaging the help and advice of those who represent kids most directly affected by the system, which the new chief will oversee.

Over the last week, five final candidates interviewed for the position of chief of the Los Angeles County Probation Department. This week, the County Board of Supervisors will choose the next chief in a closed session, without community input or insight. The new chief will be our seventh in 10 years.

We represent organizations that work with youth who have been impacted by the probation and court systems in Los Angeles. Collectively, we have experienced the juvenile justice system first-hand. We have supported youth negotiating court processes and law enforcement contacts. And together we have changed policies so that young people cast as “delinquents” and “juvenile offenders” are treated with compassion, dignity and respect. We represent organizers, advocates, lawyers and community members — including youth and families impacted by these systems — who vote and care about how public dollars are invested in youth, in their communities and in safety.

Our organizations have long been concerned by crises in the Los Angeles County Probation Department — from a lack of leadership, vision and integrity, to outright scandals exposing both staff abuse of young people and fiscal mismanagement. One example is the failure to spend more than $21 million in state funds on effective youth intervention programs and services, and another $140 million for similar adult services. We have also been concerned about the lack of community engagement in making key decisions — like the selection of the new Los Angeles County chief probation officer.

Engaging, without tokenizing, the voices of directly impacted youth, families and other community leaders in important decision-making is not only just but strategic. It is part of building trust with the broader public. It is essential to delivering services that are responsive to people’s needs. Authentic community engagement also lends legitimacy to county decisions in the long run, and is part of an effective oversight mechanism.

Nine months have passed since Jerry Powers, amid controversy, resigned as head of the department. Seven months have passed since we came together to propose ideas for selecting and setting priorities for new leadership in order to transform the largest probation department in the world.

In a February 2016 letter and in several meetings with county staff, we asked the Board of Supervisors to hire a chief who could change the department’s culture from a punitive, law enforcement orientation to one focused on youth and community development, intervention and rehabilitation. We asked for leadership that would align the Probation Department with the highest standards for trauma-informed care, transformative justice and successful healing and reunification of system-involved young people with their families and communities. We asked that the new chief lead with clear vision, inspiration, moral integrity and strong management. Following the successes of places like New York and Washington, D.C., we asked that the county hire a chief from outside of probation and law enforcement, and someone with meaningful experience in youth development and institutional change.

The three go on to point out that in the past decade the county has gone through one chief after the other. Each “promised change,” yet nearly all resigned amid controversy and/or scandal, as in the case of the most recent probation chief, Jerry Powers.

In our letter, we also asked that the Board of Supervisors ensure the community’s involvement in the selection of a new chief, as well as in shaping the future vision and work. We proactively proposed criteria for candidates, names of candidates and a different process for selection. Thankfully, some of those ideas shaped the job description and recruitment of candidates for the position. Still, since February, little about the process has been inclusive or transparent. We are still without a chief.

And now, all but one of five final candidates — while accomplished — come from the law enforcement arena.

Once again, we urge that the county Board of Supervisors and all of Los Angeles work together toward truly transforming and holding the Probation Department accountable to effectively serving L.A.’s most underserved communities. We continue to urge that the county open up the candidate selection process and slate, and think outside of the box in selecting a visionary chief….

You can read the rest of the op ed here.

We hope the Supes will take the time to read it too.

Posted in Probation | 3 Comments »

A Close Look at the Final Five in the Running for LA County Probation Chief

September 7th, 2016 by Celeste Fremon

It’s down to five finalists for the critically important position
of chief of Los Angeles County’s embattled Department of Probation, the largest such agency in the nation.

The county’s board of supervisors interviewed some of the final five on Tuesday and will finish interviewing on Wednesday. Then, according to our sources, the board may make its choice as soon as by the end of the week.

The finalists are—in alphabetical order:

Donna Groman, supervising judge of the LA County Juvenile Delinquency Court in South LA
Terri McDonald, former assistant sheriff in charge of LA County’s Jail System
Dave Mitchell, Acting Deputy Chief for Residential Treatment Services for LA County Probation
Sheila Mitchell, former head of Probation for Santa Clara County
Margarita Perez, former Assistant Chief of LA County Probation Field Services operations

As of this past weekend, Terri McDonald and Sheila Mitchell are the front runners. But the Supes are a mercurial lot. Plus, after cycling through 5 probation chiefs in just over 10 years, plus ongoing revelations pointing to the fact that the agency’s problems are still, unfortunately, far from solved, the board knows it needs to get this particular choice right.

We will get to the front-runner issue in a minute. First here are some upsides and downsides on each of the five finalists.

A quick note: As we compiled our list of candidates’ pros and cons, we talked to a varied list of well-placed sources who requested not to be quoted directly at this moment, out of respect for the selection process.


Terri McDonald was in charge of LA County’s massive and troubled jail system during the recent post-scandal period in which a great deal of reform took place.

During her tenure as Assistant Sheriff heading up the custody division for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, McDonald had a reputation as a hands-on administrator who walked the floors of the facilities, talking to staff and to inmates, encouraging everyone—inmates and deputies both— to let her know where they saw problems.

She also already has a good relationship with the board of supervisors, which is a big plus.

McDonald has spent most of her career in the field of adult corrections facilities, beginning as a corrections officer for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and working her way up. When former sheriff Lee Baca recruited her to come to the sheriff’s department in March 2013, after the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence issued its scathing report in Sept 2012, she had spent 24 years with the CDCR. How well that experience translates to what will be required at probation, which is different than an agency concerned purely with custody, is not clear.

On one hand, McDonald is definitely reform minded, and has broad experience instituting reform in the state’s prison system, in addition to what she has accomplished in LA County.

“I was raised by lifers,” McDonald once told us of her tenure at the CDCR, which we took to mean that inmates had taught her a great deal that was of value and formative. This same POV was evidenced in the way she interacted with jail inmates, whether they were locked-up on something minor, or had just been adjudicated on a serious criminal case, and were waiting to be shipped to state prison: McDonald offered basic respect to the jail inmates in the county’s care whom she encountered, and expected respect in return, and generally got it. As a consequence, she made the LA County jail system more humane, both for inmates and staff.

Yet, certain distressing problems, while lessened, still remain in the county’s jails. Extravagant uses of force went down, but inmate attacks on deputies went up, as did lower level uses of force by deputies. And there were the “tethering’ incidents. Some line staff blamed what they felt were unclear policies.

Those who question whether McDonald is the ideal fit to head the county’s probation agency, point to the fact that the supervisors have been saying for months that redefining LA County’s juvenile system to focus on rehabilitation and effective treatment, not behavior control and punishment, is job one, and will be the issue topmost in the board’s collective mind when they are choosing a new chief.

McDonald has scant experience in the juvenile field. So while she has obvious skill and breadth of experience on the adult side of things, some of those whom we spoke with asked if she can be the transformative leader so sorely needed when it comes to kids under the county’s supervision. Maybe she can. But the question needs to be asked.

Moreover, some justice advocates point out that when McDonald was reforming the jails, she had help in the form of a looming federal consent decree, the ACLU’s giant Rosas lawsuit—the settlement of which, forced certain changes—and the 197 pages of criticisms and recommendations from the CCJV, which the board—and the new sheriff, Jim McDonald—wanted instituted.

At probation, the new chief—whether it is McDonald or someone else-–will, at this point, have no such legal instruments that she—or he— can use as levers to counter the inevitable resistance that accompanies any systemic change—although, with any luck, there will be an oversight body soon created that will help a new chief drive reform. (More on that at another time.)

As KPCC’s Rina Palta pointed out when McDonald was first hired at the LASD, her former boss, Matt Cate, at the CDCR described her as a highly ethical administrator who “does not suffer fools well.” All this is very good—or can be.

Yet, whoever becomes chief is going to have to deal with the county’s labor unions, without either alienating their hard-working members, as former Chief Jerry Powers did with calamitous results, or being mowed down in every disagreement with union leadership, as was the case with Powers’ predecessor, Donald Blevins.

At the same time, according to those close to the department, there are some problematic players in leadership positions in probation, along with pockets of toxic culture that have been allowed to remain among the staff. Whoever is selected to lead the organization will need to have the clarity, guts, and management skill to successfully roll the necessary heads.

Is Terri McDonald that person? And can she also provide the necessary leadership on the juvenile side? Again, these questions are among those that must be answered before the board should move ahead with its selection.


Sheila Mitchell is considered a juvenile justice hero by many because of the notable reform she instituted as chief of probation in Santa Clara County on the juvenile side of the agency she ran for nearly ten years.

Although Santa Clara is obviously much smaller than LA County, the department that Mitchell took over in 2004 was reportedly a hot mess, strongly emphasizing punishment over anything that resembled rehabilitation on the adult and the juvenile side. The DOJ was investigating the department’s juvenile hall for alleged civil rights violations, there were dozens of reports of “staff-inflicted injuries” in the place, and the place had turned into a lawsuit factory.

When Mitchell left her post as Santa Clara’s chief, the county’s main juvenile facility, the William F. James Ranch, was considered the state’s most innovative and highly successful residential program for kids, which used as its inspiration the nationally lauded “Missouri model.” Whereas, for the first 50 years of its life, the James Ranch had been focused only on behavior control.

Plus under Mitchell, probation made good use of community alternatives—like a well run treatment-oriented day center—to keep kids out of residential facilities altogether, and dramatically lower recidivism rates.

In addition, Mitchell and those she put in top positions, managed to work with the county’s unions in such a way that a highly problematic staff culture in juvenile probation was able to be substantively transformed to the point that the James Ranch was being run by treatment-oriented, kid-centered staff members, not guards.

On the adult side of probation, Mitchell instituted such system changes as improving education outcomes for Santa Clara County adult probationers and parolees, thus easing their successful transition back into their communities.

But, could Mitchell’s Santa Clara experience apply to LA County’s huge, troubled and complicated probation goliath? (She was Assistant Chief Probation Officer at Alameda County probation, the state’s closest analogue to LA, and prior to that she was the Deputy Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, all of which should help.)

Moreover, does Mitchell really want the job? Since she retired from Santa Clara’s top spot in 2013, she has consulted with various probation departments, (which she has been doing for LA County’s Camp Kilpatrick project, which like Santa Clara’s James Ranch, aims to create its own treatment focused, “trauma-informed” model). Then in April of this year, she took the job of Chief Operating Office for an agency called Unity Care, which provides services for “at‐risk and foster youth.”

The Unity Care experience has reportedly imbued Mitchell still more insight and fervor to help fundamentally change the way we deal with the kids who wind up in our various county systems.

Yet, according to some well-placed sources, Mitchell may not be sure if she wants to jump back into an all-consuming situation that leading LA County Probation would require. And there have been doubts about whether she’d be willing to relocate to Los Angeles.

Is that true? If so, has it changed? Is she now all in? Getting those questions answered will be important part of the Supes selection task.


Dave Mitchell’s supporters contend that, save interim probation chief Cal Remington, Mitchell is the person in the high echelon’ of the probation department who is most committed to and best understands juvenile reform.

According to those who have worked with him, Mitchell is intelligent, highly capable, cares very much about kids, and knows a great deal about the problems that need to be solved in the agency, particularly in the juvenile realm.

Yet those who are rooting for one of the other four candidates suggest that, while Dave Mitchell is likely someone to groom to be chief in the future, he may not have the ideal experience to move into the top spot just yet, but that he is one of the people most necessary to a new leadership mix, to help take the department in a new and healthier direction.


Margarita Perez was recruited by former probation chief Jerry Powers to leave her position in state parole and come to Los Angeles to head up probation’s new responsibilities as the agency was tasked with overseeing men and women who, through state legislation known as AB109, suddenly landed on the county’s doorstep instead of that of the state, as part of California’s prison realignment strategy, which began in October 2011, a few months before Powers was sworn in as chief.

Before she retired last year, Perez was generally well respected inside the department by the rank and file, who saw her as someone unafraid to put on a flack vest, and get her hands dirty, so to speak, in order find out how the folks working the front lines were doing.

She is also viewed by many as a talented and respected administrator and supervisor who is firmly reform-minded on the adult side of probation. They point to her emphasis on rehabilitative services designed to help probationers do better when they reenter their communities, with the idea of lowering return trips to jail or prison.

By the way, Perez was selected to serve as chief briefly (after Jerry Powers “retired” under a cloud) until interim chief Cal Remington could free his schedule and take over the reins.

Although Perez was hired by Powers, when she left the department she reportedly wrote a sober-minded, no-punches-pulled exit letter about what was wrong at the agency, and who inside it had to go if it was to move forward toward health.

Those who do not favor Perez for the job of chief, point to her lack of any experience on the juvenile side of things, which is in desperate need of a visionary leader. Also, as is the case with Dave Mitchell, this is a moment when anybody promoted from within is going to be a tough sale.


Judge Donna Groman, is the supervising judge of the Los Angeles County Juvenile Delinquency Court at the Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center in South LA. Groman was named the California Judges Association Juvenile Court Judge of the Year for 2012, and is a very well-regarded as a jurist who cares very much about the well being of the kids who pass through her courtroom, and through the juvenile system generally.

For instance, Groman is known for making sure that planning for the future is a big part of managing each kid’s case that comes before her, which means assessing things such as a kids’ behavioral and mental health needs, along with educational needs, and other basic issues that must be in place if a kid is to thrive after he or she leaves a probation facility.

Groman has also been an important advocate for such issues as school discipline reform, pushing for kids to be kept in school rather than cited and/or suspended for such minor school-related infractions as tardiness, or truancy. In addition, she been a strong and effective voice for reforming the role that school police play on campus, for the treatment of sexually trafficked children, restorative justice, and for extended foster care and independent living services for youth aging out of the foster care system.

Yet, the role of chief is an administrative position. So is Groman’s experience on the bench, as an attorney, and as an effective juvenile reform advocate enough to make her the right candidate to run a law enforcement agency of the size and complexity of LA County probation, which has more than ‪6500 employees—ninety percent of whom are sworn peace officers—and supervises ‪12,000 state parolees, 60,000 adult probationers, and around 2,800 kids, either in its various facilities or in home placement, all on a budget of $830 million?

Well, maybe so. But, this is yet another question that the supervisors need to carefully consider of Groman and every other candidate as the board moves forward with its selection process.

So stay tuned.


Jeremy Loudenback, writing for the Chronicle of Social Change, first broke the story that Sheila Mitchell and Terri McDonald were among the top five being considered. Then we ferretted out the rest of the list, plus who was supporting whom. We recommend you read Loudenback’s informative story, plus this story in WLA he wrote earlier in the process that was adapted from a still earlier story produced for CSC.

Posted in Probation | 24 Comments »

Probation Officials Report Spike in Force in LA County’s Juvenile Halls

August 18th, 2016 by Celeste Fremon


According to probation officials, who were asked to report to the LA County Probation Commission about how often force was used on the kids housed in the county’s three juvenile halls, such force incidents have risen sharply since the beginning of the year.

Both the members of the Probation Commission and the LA County Board of Supervisors have asked Probation higher-ups to come up with data on the agency’s force incidents in its juvenile facilities.

Earlier this month, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to review three years of “critical incidents” that have taken place in the county’s juvenile halls and probation camps. The motion, written by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, also requests information on how internal investigations of such force incidents are handled and how staff are disciplined following critical and non-critical incidents.

The pressure on Probation rose after WitnessLA broke the story of the alleged beating of an unresisting 17-year-old by staff members at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar.

We also reported a second alleged force incident that reportedly occurred at the county’s Central Juvenile Hall.

The LA Times’ Abby Sewell broke the news about the information made public at last Thursday’s Probation Commission. Here’s a clip from her story:

Overall, monthly use of force incidents increased by 85%, from 55 to 102, at the three county-run juvenile halls — Central Juvenile Hall in Boyle Heights, Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey and Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar — from January to July, statistics released Thursday by the L.A. County Probation Department show.

At Los Padrinos, the number of reported incidents rose from 12 in January to 31 in July. At Central Juvenile Hall, the number increased from 20 in January to 39 in July; and from 23 to 32 at the Barry J. Nidorf facility.

Each camp holds about 200 youths awaiting court action in their cases or transfer to other facilities.

The total number of force incidents remained relatively stable early in 2016 and dipped slightly in March, but spiked in June and July.

Probation officials who presented the statistics at a probation commission meeting Thursday said any time a staffer places hands on a youth, including to break up a fight between minors, a use-of-force report is triggered.

Department spokeswoman Kerri Webb said there could be “a variety of reasons” for the overall increase.

“While we do regularly review these incidents, we’re assessing this specific information to identify the reasons for the fluctuations,” she said in an email. “It’s too soon to know now what the results of the analysis are.”

Posted in juvenile justice, Probation | 1 Comment »

LA County Supes Vote to Investigate Abuse Allegations Within Juvenile Lock-Ups

August 3rd, 2016 by Taylor Walker

On Tuesday, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to review three years of “critical incidents” that have taken place in the county’s juvenile halls and probation camps.

The Supervisors were alerted to allegations of probation staff abuse against kids within the county’s juvenile facilities after WitnessLA broke a story about an incident in April at a juvenile hall in Sylmar involving the alleged beating of a non-combative 17-year-old housed at the facility by four probation staff, while a fifth, a supervisor, watched. The beating incident was captured on video by a camera installed in the teen’s room.

Last week, WLA reported on a second alarming incident—this one at Central Juvenile Hall in May. A county employee witnessed a senior Detention Services Officer roughly handling a physically small 14-year-old who had already been restrained on the ground. When the boy said that the DSO was hurting him, the officer yanked the boy up by the back of his sweatshirt, reportedly causing the boy to choke. The teen retaliated by calling the DSO the N-word. According to the witness’s account, things spiraled from there.

With three juvenile halls and thirteen probation camps, Los Angeles County is home to the largest juvenile justice system in the nation. Ridley-Thomas says the reported staff abuses “underscore that more reforms are needed to protect young people and promote institutional accountability. The County’s response to these occurrences can be just as significant over time as the events themselves.”

Tuesday’s motion—which Supe. Ridley-Thomas read in during last week’s board meeting—directs the County CEO to coordinate with the interim Chief Probation Officer, Director of the Dept. of Mental Health, and the Director of the Dept. of Health Services, and return to the board in 45 days with a report that includes Probation’s policies and procedures for reporting incidents like the ones that occurred at the two juvenile halls, an exact definition of what constitutes a “critical incident” versus a “non-critical” incident (and how probation staff make that determination), whether the department’s policies and protocols address the underlying causes of the conflicts between kids and probation staff, and what kind of medical attention and trauma-informed care is provided to youth—both before and in response to an incident.

“Trauma-informed, timely responses that emphasize healing, coordination, and accountability should be the norm and the protocol, not the exception,” Ridley-Thomas said in the motion.

The motion also requests information on how internal investigations are handled and how staff are disciplined following critical and non-critical incidents.

Then, within 90 days, the county’s Auditor-Controller, in coordination with the Interim Chief Probation Officer, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Attorney of the Office of the Independent Monitor, the Director of the Office of Child Protection, and County Counsel will report back to the board with an analysis of three years of critical incidents that have occurred within the juvenile camps and halls.

“It is a priority of the Board of Supervisors that we do all that we can to make sure those who are in our custody and care are treated as they should be, consistent with the law, and with the basic principles and practices of decency,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

Posted in juvenile justice, LA County Board of Supervisors, Probation | No Comments »

A Disturbing Report of Another Assault of a Teenager by a Los Angeles County Probation Staffer

July 28th, 2016 by Celeste Fremon

On May 31 of this year, another incident of alleged abuse of a teenage probationer
by Los Angeles County Probation staff reportedly occurred in a county juvenile facility. This most recent reported assault took place at Central Juvenile Hall, located on Eastlake Avenue, east of downtown LA.

Unlike the April 2016 beating of a seventeen-year-old boy by four probation staff members at another LA County Probation juvenile facility—that WitnessLA reported last month— this time there was no video of the incident.

But there were witnesses. And the event was deemed serious enough that at least one witness called the police.

We have obtained a written account from one of the witnesses. This source is not a probation staff member but a member of another county agency that has personnel working in LA’s juvenile halls and camps.

According to the witness, the incident began at around 10 a.m. in what is known as the B-wing of the aging facility. A male student had been kicked out of class for a reason that was unknown to the witness. (We have since heard from a source inside probation that the student was being “disruptive” in some manner.)

Once the student was asked to leave class, he entered the hallway outside the classroom where he was intercepted by probation staff who presumably had been alerted to his impending exit.

According to the witness, the student was “restrained by three probation staff,” who initially, she wrote, shoved him to the floor and handcuffed the boy, who is 14-years-old, and reportedly physically small. According to our source, he was also an “RSP” student. (RSP stands for Resource Specialist Program, which means he had some kind of learning designation that qualified him for special education.)

The problem began, according to the witness’s account, when a senior Detention Services Officer—or DSO—began to pull the now-handcuffed kid from the floor to a standing position. But, because the boy was face down with his hands restrained behind his back, the pulling motion yanked his arms up and back in such a way that the boy found painful.

“You’re hurting me” he said. According to the witness, the DSO appeared to be irritated by the complaint so pulled the kid up even harder, this time using the back of his sweatshirt to do the yanking, which reportedly caused the sweatshirt to produce a visible choking effect.

The handcuffed kid retaliated by calling the DSO the N-word. According to the witness’s account, things went rapidly downhill from there.

The senior DSO reportedly “got very upset” and bunched the back of student’s sweatshirt with his hand and yanked, further choking the student “while [the] student is trying to tell him” that he is being choked.

“Tell me again and I’ll do it harder!’ the DSO reportedly yelled at the kid.

The 15-year-old boy immediately took the DSO up on the offer.

“N—-r! N—-r! N—-r! N—-r! N—-r! N—-r!” he shouted.

Meanwhile, the senior DSO “kept pulling him straight up” with the student’s sweatshirt, and the student reportedly kept choking.

“It was unpleasant to me to…witness this,” wrote our source, since the “student is already handcuff[ed] and restrained” and the boy “had no other way to defend himself.”

That’s when somebody called the Hollenbeck division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

After the police had come and gone, according to the witness’s account, probation staff members approached an administrator in charge of the LA County Office of Education (LACOE) workers present in the hall. (Both LACOE staff and some Department of Mental Health–DMH–witnessed the incident.)

“If your staff is going to be snitching,” the probation staffer reportedly said to the administrator, “then we won’t be here to help with nothing.” In the days to follow, according to the witness, various DSOs attempted to question civilian staff “to find out who made the report.”

Some of the civilian witnesses who saw the senior DSO allegedly manhandle and “choke” the teenager with the kid’s sweatshirt, talked to other volunteers who were present that day, one of whom talked to us with alarm about what he’d heard of the incident, which matched our witness’s written account.

LA County Probation Chief Cal Remington, told WitnessLA he was aware of the choking incident but could not comment in detail, due to legal constraints. “Anytime there is an incident of hands placed on a kid, we expect reports,” Remington said. “We review those reports, and we take the incident very seriously.” This incident was no exception, he said. “The investigation for this alleged incident is still ongoing.”

Yet, other county officials say they are disturbed by this newly reported incident. And when the topic came up briefly on Wednesday morning at the LA County Probation Commission meeting, several commissioners who had heard anecdotal accounts of the so-called “choking” expressed dismay that—as with the story of beating of a 17-year-old in Sylmar—they were not getting any information or notification from probation officials, but only learning about these alleged occurrences through back-door sources.

“On May 31 a kid was choked by a supervisor to a point that was so bad…the police were called,” commissioner Azael “Sal” Martinez-Sonoqui said to probation higher-up who was at the meeting to answer questions on another topic. “And yet nobody here was notified!” (We profiled Sal Martinez here.)

Commissioner Cyn Yamashiro expressed a similar frustration. (Yamashiro is also the founding executive director of the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy at Loyola Law School.) “I thought we had moved past this notion of ‘hide-the-ball,’” he said. But today, he continued, feels like “we’re returning to the way it used to be.”

With like concerns in mind, at Tuesday’s board of supervisor’s meeting, supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas proposed a motion that asks probation for, among other things, data on the “types and prevalence” of “critical incidents”—such as the two reported here—that have occurred over the past three years in the county’s three juvenile halls, and thirteen probation camps.

Posted in Juvenile Probation, Probation | No Comments »

LA County Board of Supes to Consider Funding Homeboy Industries to Do the Job It’s Been Doing for Free for the County for Years – UPDATED

May 3rd, 2016 by Celeste Fremon

UPDATE: On Tuesday, the LA County Board of Supervisors
passed the motion described below, with four of the board members voting yes. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas abstained.

On Tuesday the board of supervisors will vote on an unusual motion, which proposes offer a yearlong, $1.5 million contract to Homeboy Industries to do the work that they’ve been doing anyway for the county, which is helping formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women in LA County by giving them the tools and support to allow them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community—instead of cycling in and out of jail or prison or both.

(If you’re unfamiliar with the details of what Homeboy does, you can find it here.)

The motion is co sponsored by Supervisor Don Knabe, and Supervisor Hilda Solis. You can find the text here, but it amounts to this:

LA County Probation is sitting on an absurd pile of unused state money that is mandated to be used on programs that do exactly what Homeboy provides.

Here’s the deal.

As we’ve reported in the past, LA County receives a yearly bunch of cash from California’s SB 678 fund, which is a performance-based program that shares with California’s counties some of the money saved by the state through AB 109 prison realignment. The counties are, in turn, supposed to spend their SB 678 dollars on “evidence-based” programs to help adult probationers restart their lives and to avoid future visits to jail or prison, thus saving the state and county additional money.

LA County probation began receiving SB 678 funds in FY 2011-2012. But, while they took the money, they did almost nothing at all with it. Thus by May 2015, a county audit discovered that department had amassed an astonishing $140.5 million in SB 678 funds—which former probation chief, Jerry Powers and company reportedly failed to mention to the board of supervisors or anyone else. Meanwhile, instead of spending the funds on much-needed programs, either of probation’s own creation or on existing community-based programs, they simply sat on the cash, which—according to our sources—has now grown to $145 million or more.

Now, as AB 109/prison realignment moves into its 5th year of operation, and Prop. 47 moves is one and 1/3 years old, it’s in everyone’s best interest that the county takes some of those SB 678 bucks that its been stuffing under the mattress, and use it on evidence-based programs aimed at the people for which it was intended—programs like Homeboy Industries provides to hundreds of men and women every year.

(By the way, did I mention that the $140 plus million has been languishing all this time in a non-interest bearing account? Who in the world was overseeing these decisions? Oh, yeah, right. Never mind.)

Which brings us back to the motion pertaining to Homeboy.

According to Nick Ippolito, Assistant Chief of Staff for Supervisor Knabe, the motion accomplishes a couple of things. First of all it would allow the county to start funding a program, and then over time, multiple programs, that work with the population that the county is most interested in working with—namely former and current offenders released from jail or prison who, if they can be prevented from recidivating, while save the county and the state a bunch of money, and will contribute greatly to the cause of public safety..

With this in mind, “we’ve been trying to form a strategic relationship with Homeboy for some time,” Ippolito said. “I don’t know of any other organization that works with their documented level of success with individuals who have been hardcore gang members.” But, he said, “Homeboy industries clients aren’t sent to them by a judge or a probation officer, they come in on their own, when they’re ready.”

There are plenty of organizations “who work well with non-violent AB 109-ers,” Ippolito continued, “but not with this population. And we want to figure out the best service model to help this population. But we want to do that without trying to turn Homeboy into a fee-for-service agency,” which are the kind of programs that probation generally contracts with, Ippolito said. “But that’s not how Homeboy turns lives around.”

Yet, despite the fact that Homeboy has been helping the men and women that the county most wants to reach, the county has rarely given the organization even the smallest about of funding.

“Homeboy has done their work almost exclusively through private donations, and through their enterprises like their bakery” said Ippolito, not government money. “So how do we support them without screwing up their model?”

Enter Tuesday’s motion—which, if it passes, would allow the board to take a small portion of that hoarded 678 money and enter into an agreement with Homeboy for 12 months, a contract that would establish a pilot that will allow the county, according to Ippolito, to figure out how to work with Homeboy and other “innovative organizations whose work the county should be funding,” but whose model doesn’t fit into the county’s neat little funding boxes.

Or, as the motion says, Homeboy offers “a service template that doesn’t fit neatly into the traditional, referral-based models the County is accustomed to administering.”

According to both Ippolito and Supervisor Knabe, the sort of “sole source” funding the motion proposes, where a contract is offered to one program specifically, with no competitive bidding, is also not usually the kind of thing the supervisors the county does. But, this situation warrants it, they say.

And in the next round, according to the motion, after a year of the pilot program with Homeboy, the county would open the opportunity, through a conventional competative bidding process, to other programs that, like Homeboy, utilize “the elements of research based, best practice models to address behavior change in previously incarcerated men, women and high-risk youth seeking reentry services.”

Sounds like a good idea to us.

We’ll let you know what happens.


We will also be closely tracking the vote on another very important motion proposed by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis to “end juvenile solitary confinement in LA County.” More on that after we see how the vote goes. (It is expected to pass.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the interest of transparency, I need to disclose, for those who don’t already know, that I have a strong bias in the direction of Homeboy Industries, mainly because I wrote a book about Father Greg Boyle, Homeboy’s founder, and have been reporting on him, and the organization that he built, and the homeboys and homegirls who’ve come in and out of Homeboy, since 1990.

But this also means, I’ve had a front row seat to watch hundreds of people manage, with Fr. Greg’s and Homeboy’s help, to reroute the trajectory of their lives against staggering odds. In a bunch of cases, I’ve tracked those same people over time—which means sometimes, I’ve seen them backslide, occasionally tragically. But most of the time, the stutter-step back was just a normal part of the complicated and very human task of making one’s way into a transformed and hopeful future. To put it another way, in more than a quarter century of observing Homeboy Industries, I’ve gotten to witness a whole lot of real, no-kidding miracles.

So, yes, speaking personally, I really hope this motion passes.

Posted in Homeboy Industries, Probation | 7 Comments »

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Who Makes the Decisions About How to Spend LA’s Juvenile Justice Millions?

April 25th, 2016 by Celeste Fremon


There are various large pots of state and national dollars that are funneled to Los Angeles and most of California’s other 57 counties to be spent on juvenile justice and other justice reforms.

Yet, the issue of who decides what money is sent where and then, at a local level, how those dollars get spent, are both matters that largely fly under the radar when it comes to public awareness.

With a new WitnessLA series called Follow the Money we aim to change all that.


Earlier this month, on Monday, April 6, a mutiny occurred in the world of juvenile justice spending at the meeting of something known as the LA County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council or JJCC.

(Our OpEd last week by Children’s Defense Fund-California executive director, Alex Johnson, talked about some of what occurred at the April 6 meeting, and what needs to happen next. Today we’re going further.)

The primary job of the JJCC—a group most of you have likely never heard of—-is to decide how a pot of around $30 million in juvenile justice money is spent each year by LA County Probation to—at least theoretically—help the county’s at risk kids.

The pot of money that the JJCC votes on annually about this time is called JJCPA funding.

(Yes, I realize that all these similar acronyms—-JJCC and JJCPA—are confusing, but stay with me.)

In the past, the JJCC has voted—with no objections, and with very few questions—to approve the yearly juvenile justice budget exactly as LA County Probation presents it.

But not this time.


To understand the nature of the mutiny that took place on April 6, it helps to have a little history:

The Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA) program was created by the Crime Prevention Act of 2000 to provide a stable funding source for local juvenile justice programs aimed at keeping kids who’ve tangled with the juvenile justice system from returning, and to help kids at risk of winding up in the system from entering it in the first place.

The main source of income for this stream of money is our vehicle license fees.

As mentioned above, every year, LA County gets around $30 million in JJCPA dollars from the state.

Although each county gets to decide the specifics of how it spends its JJCPA money, there are strict parameters that govern that spending—as dictated by the legislation that created the funds to begin with. For example, the state requires any and all county funded JJCPA programs to be “modeled on strategies that have demonstrated effectiveness in curbing juvenile delinquency.”

In other words, the funds may only be used on programs that have been proven to actually work. To make sure California’s counties abide by the rules, the legislation also requires counties to collect and document what outcomes their various JJCPA programs have produced.

Again, the local body that is supposed to be making decisions and overseeing all this on a local level is the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council (JJCC).

To make sure the local JJCCs aren’t being controlled by any particular vested interest as they decide how to give out their JJCPA money, the state mandates the make-up of the council to be as follows:

[It] shall, at a minimum, include the chief probation officer, as chair, and one representative each from the district attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, the sheriff’s department, the board of supervisors, the department of social services, the department of mental health, a community-based drug and alcohol program, a city police department, the county office of education or a school district, and an at-large community representative. … [The] coordinating council shall also include representatives from nonprofit community-based organizations providing services to minors.

And a lot of counties do just that.

For instance, in Ventura County (where LA’s interim probation chief, Cal Remington was the probation chief from 1997 to 2007, the JJCC is quite active and transparent.


Los Angeles, however—which has the state’s largest juvenile justice system, the most kids under the supervision of the county’s probation department, and is in receipt of the largest yearly pot of JJCPA money—seems to make only a half-hearted effort to follow some of the state rules. The rest of the JJCPA rules, not so much.

Specifically, when it comes to the JJCC, Los Angeles County is not in legal compliance. Period. There are exactly zero representatives from the LA County Board of Supervisors on the JJCC, zero from social services (Department of Children and Family Services), zero from any community based drug and alcohol program, zero in the way of an at-large community representative and, most importantly, zero, zip, nada and nobody from the community based organizations that are required to be—but assuredly are not—partners in the endeavor—all despite years of memos, emails, in-person complaints, and random begging for probation to follow the state’s legal rules.

Moreover, some of the existing members don’t bother to show up to many of the meetings.

And those who do show up reportedly do little more than simply rubber stamp what LA County Probation presents, according to juvenile advocates and others who make a point of attending the JJCC meetings to observe.

On April 6, the council was expected to vote to approve the most recent JJCPA budget, as outlined by probation, and everyone assumed the vote would move forward without a hitch.

But, this time, before the council could vote, some of the juvenile advocates again made the point that this was not a “legally constituted council,” that the council’s make-up was against what the state law requires. In particular, they said, there were no representatives from the supes offices on the council, and nobody from the community-based organizations, and no at-large community representative.

Unlike in the past, however, this time some of the council members paid attention. So when it came time to vote on the two scheduled agenda items, one of them the new yearly JJCPA budget—which had to be sent to the state by May 1—all at once there was not the normal level of blind cooperation.


Anne Tremblay, a bright and very capable woman who is on the JJCC by virtue of being the director of Mayor Garcetti’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD), was alarmed at what she was hearing about the group not being a “legally constituted council.” Tremblay explained that, under the circumstances, she did not feel she could vote to approve anything—or words to that effect—-so was going to abstain.

Tremblay’s action was contagious. Suddenly there were more abstentions than there were yes votes. This unexpected mutiny spelled big trouble for probation, given the must-pass nature of the budget.

Finally someone suggested that the council could, in part, rectify the situation by electing a community-representative-at-large from those in the audience. After that, they could also draft at least someone from one of the supervisors’ offices. Then,in the very near future, maybe the council could finally make themselves fully legal by adding the rest of the needed members.

With this in mind, one of the council members nominated Carol Biondi to serve as the community representative at-large. Biondi is a member of the Children’s Commission, and one of the juvenile advocates who was observing. Biondi agreed to serve, at least on an interim basis.

Next, someone from Supervisor Hilda Solis’s office, who was also observing, called to get emergency permission from her office to join the council for a vote.

And so it was that the latest JJCPA budget was passed and—after years of flouting state requirements—LA County’s Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council finally took some steps in the direction of legality. Plus some of the council members seem to have, at least for now, snapped to something resembling wakefulness.

It was a small step in the right direction.

Yet, it’s essential that the trend continues.

In the meantime, next we’ll look at some of the larger issues—like the problems with how LA County will actually be spending its recently budgeted JJCPA money.

And more.

So stay tuned.

Posted in Probation | No Comments »

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