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 BillsOctober 14th, 2013 by Taylor Walker
LA COUNTY RESIDENTS AND ADVOCATES STILL FIGHTING TAFT JAIL CONTRACT
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.
NEW CALIFORNIA FOSTER CARE REPORT LOOKS AT EDUCATION CHALLENGES
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.
MINORITIES COMPRISE MAJORITY OF PASADENA YOUTH ARRESTS
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.
GOV BROWN’S CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILL DECISIONS
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.