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LAPD Officers Investigated for Operating Youth Boot Camp, Are SF Juvenile Probation Camps Violating Exercise Rules…and More

August 2nd, 2012 by Taylor Walker

(Skip ahead 48 seconds into video for boot camp footage.)


LAPD officers Ismael Gonzalez and Alex Nava are under investigation for operating a militaristic youth boot camp unbeknownst to LAPD officials. The camp, which has been running since February, employs scare tactics, ridicule, and harsh physical conditions to reform at risk youth.

LA Daily News’ Dakota Smith has the story. Here’s a clip:

The camp, in operation since February, employed aggressive tactics, including taunting and screaming at children by Los Angeles Department of General Services police officers, according to video footage posted on YouTube.

One child taking part in a March class looks in the video no older than 5 or 6 years of age, though most participants appeared to be teens or pre-teens.

“We didn’t know about this program, this wasn’t an LAPD program,” said LAPD spokesman Commander Andy Smith, who said the department will investigate both the class and the conduct of the two officers.

The Department of General Services is also investigating the class, said general manager Tony Royster. The program is not affiliated with the department, Royster wrote in an email.

The Hollywood program was run by two officers, Ismael Gonzalez and Alex Nava, both from the LAPD’s Central Division. In a brief interview over the weekend, Gonzalez said he modeled the program after LAPD’s Juvenile Impact Program, a department-sanctioned boot camp which also uses military-style tactics to scare juveniles straight.

“We saw the program was good and effective, and so we started our own,” he said.

Gonzalez and Nava called their class the Juvenile Intervention Program. A LLC for the class was formed last November, while their website states the program is a registered non-profit. They charged $200 – twice the amount charged by the LAPD’s program.

(Note: In order to get to the LAPD officer’s boot camp footage, you have to make it through a very loud intro in Spanish.)


The San Francisco Youth Commission requested information on SF’s Juvenile Probation Dept. after hearing claims that juvies were not receiving their legally mandated hour of exercise per day. The probation department said they do not keep logs and would not release the information for inmate confidentiality reasons.

California Watch’s Trey Bundy has the story. Here’s how it opens:

The San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department says it is providing detainees with their legally mandated hour of outdoor exercise per day, but it has not provided data substantiating that claim, according to the city’s Board of Supervisors and Youth Commission.

The board asked William Siffermann, the chief of juvenile probation, for the data in May, after David Chiu, board president, said supervisors had heard anecdotal evidence that detainees were not getting their hour of exercise.

Mario Yedidia, director of the Youth Commission, said Siffermann has “told us in no uncertain terms that he would not be providing us with that data because it would violate the confidentiality of detainees.”

Advocates for juvenile detainees say that the hour of exercise is crucial for the young offenders’ physical and mental health.

Siffermann said this week that his staff does not log the participation of each detainee in outdoor activities, but that he has begun providing the commission with information on the overall daily use of outdoor recreation spaces, and that he would do the same for the board.

A 2010 state evaluation of the city’s Juvenile Justice Center, a detention facility near Twin Peaks that typically houses 50 to 80 young offenders who are 13 to 18 years old, found no code violations of any kind.

In an interview on Monday, Chiu asked, “I’d like to understand how the department passed state standards if they have yet to provide us the data to demonstrate that they’re in compliance.”


In an effort to comply with the long-standing court order to improve the medical care prison inmates receive, the CDCR is in the midst of building the largest prison medical facility in the nation.

KPCC’s Julie Small has the story. Here’s a clip:

For years, Californians voted to lengthen prison sentences. That means more felons are behind bars well past the age when chronic disease develops. The federal receiver’s office says that more than half the state’s inmates — nearly 70,000 — get treatment for a chronic condition.

The state is legally required to provide adequate medical and mental health care. It didn’t always do a good job at that.

About a decade ago, when lawyers showed that an inmate a week was dying from lack of care, a federal judge seized control of prison medical care in California and appointed the receiver to improve it. Later, a federal court ordered the state to reduce its prison population to improve medical care.

“This is the way forward,” says Nate Elam, warden at the California Health Care Facility and its medical CEO. “This is probably a turning point for the state of California.”

Elam dons a hard hat to tour the skeleton of one of the main medical building. It’s the size of a couple of football fields, flanked by buildings that are just as big. Elam lists the kind of services they’ll be able to offer in these buildings.

“So we’ve got pharmacy and lab and some of those sorts of services over here. We’ve got procedure areas, dental, rehabilitative services.” He asks Meredith, “Where are we putting the dialysis?”

The idea is to hub the sickest inmates in one place, to save on costs and produce better results. Many of the inmates who’ll be sent to the facility in Stockton need 24-hour nursing care. Right now, a lot of those inmates take up critical care bed space at prisons — and that forces the state to send other inmates to outside hospitals at a cost of $2,000 a day.

Kincaid says the Stockton facility will solve that problem.

“This allows us to shift around that population as they age — have mobility issues and need that long-term care setting, to come to a place where they can accommodate that, free up other beds and keep more people out of outside hospitals,” Kincaid said.

Posted in juvenile justice, LAPD, medical care, prison | 2 Comments »

2 Responses

  1. Robert Peel Says:

    C: I recall (you will need to check Times archives) where Baca also had a boot camp. It was a combination of USMC Marines and LASD staff. A young, overweight youth died as a result of the harsh treatment. Just one more reason NOT to vote for Baca!

  2. A Supervisor Says:

    Los Angeles County’s Probation Dept. Juvenile Halls just underwent monitored compliance with outdoor recreation (among a list of things) from the California Standards Authority. We document and cross-document our daily living unit activities, including: outdoor recreation, indoor recreation, and church attendance. The C.S.A. surveyed every minor in all three Juvenile Halls, as well. The SHU units must keep a log and account for minors temporarily housed in a SHU, to assure every child gets into a classroom and recreation program daily. Any minor held out of wither must be accounted for in the log and a special incident report generated. That’s standard policy here, but S.F. can’t provide this accounting?

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