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Advocates Oppose LA’s Newest Jail Contract…New CA Foster Youth Education Data…90% of Pasadena Juvenile Arrests are Minorities…and Gov. Brown on Criminal Justice Bills

October 14th, 2013 by Taylor Walker


Last month, the LA County Board of Supervisors approved a $75M contract to send 500 county jail inmates to Taft Correctional Institution in Kern County. (You can read about it here.)

Advocates and residents were still voicing their opposition at last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, and a new petition from Board of Supes watchdog Eric Preven asks the Supes to cancel the contract and use realignment funds for community alternatives.

In the above videos: Susan Burton founded A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project for incarcerated women after decades of cycling through the criminal justice system herself. Former gang member James Horton works for Homeboy Industries. He spent twelve years on death row before having his murder charge reversed.


Foster care kids in California face an “invisible achievement gap,” according to a report released today.

There are some alarming findings in the report, including the fact that the graduation rate for 2009-2010 high school seniors in foster care was almost 30% lower than that of their peers, and that little more than a third of foster youths perform at grade level in math.

The LA Times’ Teresa Watanabe has the story. Here’s a clip:

The study, which provides the first detailed statewide look at foster youths and their academic challenges, was made possible by a new data-sharing agreement between the state education and social services agencies. It comes as school districts across California prepare to launch the nation’s first effort to systematically address the yawning academic deficiencies among foster youths, using additional money provided by the state’s new school financing law.

“This report makes these invisible kids visible,” said Teri Kook of the Stuart Foundation, which funded the study by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd in San Francisco. “The experiences they’ve had — abuse, neglect, moving from home to home — are having an impact on their ability to academically achieve.”

The report shows that Los Angeles County had by far the most public school students in foster care — 12,648 of the 43,140 students identified — with the largest number attending L.A. Unified schools. Although Latinos made up the biggest group at 43%, African Americans were disproportionately represented at 26% — more than three times larger than their share of the population —followed by whites at 23% and Asians at 2%.

The youths switched schools more often than other students — each transfer can set a student back as many as six months, research shows — and suffered far greater levels of emotional trauma than their peers. Such factors, researchers said, are key reasons why they performed worse in English, math and the high school exit exam than even low-income students overall.

Only 37% of foster youths were at grade level in math — scoring lower than all other student groups, including those with disabilities and limited English. Their high school dropout rate in 2009-10 was 8%, more than twice the rate of their statewide peers.


Almost 90% of Pasadena juvenile arrests between 2008-2012 were of Black and Latino youths, according to data obtained by LA Daily News. The accompanying infographic does also show that the total arrests of both Latinos and African Americans were reduced by more than half from 2008 to 2012.

LADN’s Sarah Favot has the story. Here are some clips:

The data, obtained in a response to a public records request, covers 1,464 incidents. It includes the date, charges, sex, age and race of those youths who were arrested after encounters with police.

Black youths represent 16  percent of Pasadena Unified School District’s school-age population, school district records show, but account for 41  percent of the juvenile arrests, according to the data.

U.S. Census data show that the total black population in Pasadena was about 11 percent in 2010.

Black and Latino youth were also arrested more frequently than white youth for serious crimes like assault, battery, murder and arson, according to the data.

City Councilman John Kennedy has called on Mayor Bill Bogaard to have the data further analyzed by a blue ribbon commission.

“Certainly I think there’s an opportunity to look at the data, analyze the data and present that data and then in a dispassionate way determine what that data portends for making Pasadena a more livable and enjoyable city and to see if in fact there is a necessity for positive interventions to change the demographics of the high incidence of arrests among African Americans and Latinos,” said Kennedy, a former deputy police chief in Virginia.


On Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown decided on 33 bills, including SB 57, a bill that would require sex offenders who were apprehended after tampering with their GPS devises to spend 180 days behind bars.

The LA Times’ Patrick McGreevy and Paige St. John have the story. Here are some clips:

Some counties with severely crowded jails have freed such offenders almost immediately after detaining them for tampering with the GPS devices, a Times investigation found this year. The bill Brown approved requires that the offenders be sentenced to 180 days and serve their entire parole revocation in jail.


The sex offender bill was introduced by state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) after The Times documented a sharp increase in reported cases of such offenders removing their GPS devices. Many served little or no time behind bars after doing so, and some committed new crimes — including rape and murder — that might have been prevented if they had been kept in custody.

The monitors are required under a law approved by California voters in 2006. But “when sex offenders know that there are little or no repercussions” for disabling them, “it’s time to strengthen the deterrent,” Lieu said in a statement Saturday. “Real deterrents for sex offenders drastically reduce the likelihood they will commit another crime.”

State corrections officials said that more than 5,000 warrants for GPS tampering were issued in the first 15 months after penalties for doing so were reduced under Brown’s 2011 prison “realignment” program.

Brown also vetoed SB 649, a bill that would have given prosecutors the option to charge possession of cocaine or heroin as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Go read the rest of the criminal justice legislation highlights.

Posted in Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (Jerry), Education, Foster Care, Homeboy Industries, LA County Board of Supervisors, LA County Jail, race, Realignment | 5 Comments »

5 Responses

  1. tomv Says:

    The Pasadena story is just as stupid as the Bobb story on LASD dog bites. Has it ever occurred to these fools that they are getting arrested at a higher rate because they commit crimes? Pasadena has active Crips and Bloods as well as active Hispanic gangs and they have members down to below 11 years of age. Actually if you compared the percentages to the ratio of prison inmates it is about the same. The Pasadena writer and Bobb are pushing for arrests and dog use equal to population percentage. The only way they will change is for both to become a victim of one of their favored minorities and then maybe they will realize a criminal is a criminal and that what cops arrest

  2. tomv Says:

    As far as cocaine veto. What court in LA County actually has simple possession a felony? I never was in one. Pasadena court would send them to diversion and they would keep doing it for the 2nd,3rd and even 4th arrest. Same with Pomona and West Covina. You get prosecuted at felony level for sales, or transporting more than a individual could use. Another BS story. I wonder if Bobb will now claim blacks and browns are getting arrested for this “too often.”

  3. tomv Says:

    Moving inmates. It has to do with not being able to visit their husbands,sons,brothers etc. Same reason a lot of MCJ inmates don’t what to get moved up to Pitchess.

  4. Prophet Mo' Teff Says:

    With every passing day, I become more convinced that Governor Jerry Brown’s positions on issues and legislation are guided by something more than California politics and the goal of maintaining his viability to win reelection.

    Governor Brown’s feet are firmly planted in Sacramento, but I’m almost sure that he’s keeping one eye firmly fixed on taking another run for President in 2016.

  5. InterestedParty Says:

    Sarah Favot’s story regurgitated demographic data showing the sad state of affairs in some of America’s ethnic communities. It really is pathetic that certain racial groups won’t allow some community introspection to see if perhaps, they can change some habitual behaviors that would definitely minimize their youth’s contact with police, thereby reducing the frequency of life-changing events like being arrested. If they were honest and looked within their own community for causal factors (fragmented families, 70-some% out-of-wedlock births, prevalence of drug usage, absence of fathers, involvement with gang activity etc.), the vast majority of arrests could be attributed to habitually poor judgment causing criminal behavior which attracts police intervention. Specious and inflammatory comments from folks like Randy Ertll (…”minority students, particularly blacks and Latinos do get targeted more and get profiled more often”…) or Martin Gordon, . . .“blacks are easily targeted by police. . . Schools became stomping grounds for the Police Department to arrest our kids . . . If you’re black, you will be arrested, if you are not, you won’t . . . That’s their criteria).” These comments display an attitude looking to blame others for bad and criminal behaviors, that one should never look inside themselves for the answer to the occurrence of repeatedly bad experiences. The comments are not helpful to resolving the huge problem existing in America’s urban areas. As with the Merrick Bobb report’s implication the police are likely to blame for causing minority suspects to be bitten by K-9s, we’re not doing these individuals a service by deflecting the real causal factors — irresponsible behavior!

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