#NoSafePlace Uncategorized

Can Guillermo Viera Rosa transform LA County’s youth probation catastrophe?

Guillermo Viera Rosa, Chief Strategist for Juvenile Operations
Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

As most readers know, in recent months, things have been going from bad to worse at a disturbing clip when it comes to LA County probation’s two youth halls, Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall, in Sylmar, CA, and Central Juvenile Hall on Eastlake Ave. northeast of downtown LA.

This week, however, the news about youth probation turned out to be a different nature. On Tuesday, April 4, the county took the unusual step of hiring a brand new person from outside the county system in order to fill a job that previously didn’t exist.

The presumed hope is that said new person will somehow yank the county’s youth probation system back from its present position on the edge of a cliff, where neither kids nor staff feel safe.  

The new person’s name is Guillermo Viera Rosa, and he has been hired as “Chief Strategist for Juvenile Operations” for the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

Interestingly enough, from what several of WitnessLA’s sources have told us, Guillermo Viera Rosa may be a good fit for this new post that seems to have been created out of thin air and desperation.

So how bad are things?

So, how desperate have conditions in Barry J Nidorf in particular become? 

Let us remind you:  In February of this year one kid and one staff member were stabbed. Thankfully, they both recovered.  During the same month, five kids overdosed on  fentanyl.  In each case,  a staff member administered NARCAN, and the young people survived.  (And these are the overdoses of which we are aware.)

Earlier in February, as WLA reported, the members of the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) presented a report showing that Barry J. and Central juvenile halls were extravagantly out of compliance with state regulations when it comes to the most basic standards of care and safety for the young people in residence at the two facilities.

Presumably, not knowing what else to do, late in the afternoon on Tuesday March 7, the five members of the Board of Supervisors responded to the decidedly unsafe-for-anyone conditions in both halls by calling then Probation Chief Adolfo Gonzales into a private meeting, where they fired him, effective immediately.

To take his place, the board selected as the agency’s interim chief, the newly-fired chief’s second in command, Karen Fletcher.

Among the large number of urgent tasks piled on her plate, new Interim Chief Fletcher was responsible for sending, by March 14, a detailed “corrective action plan” to the BSCC outlining LA County’s strategies for fixing the 39 things that were wrong with the two youth halls.

The good news was that, on March 14, 2023, the BSCC received the county’s corrective action plan.

The bad news was that, as BSCC chair Linda Penner wrote on March 27, the oversight board found the plan “insufficient,” and thus rejected it. (You can read the plan here.)

This means that, at approximately 10 a.m. on April 13, next Thursday, the BSCC will vote on whether or not the two youth halls will be declared legally “unsuitable” to house youth.  

Oh, and a few days before BSCC’s Penner sent her email, the generally conservative statewide organization known as the Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) sent out press release asking state and county leaders to put Los Angeles County’s juvenile facilities, most particularly the county’s two deeply troubled juvenile halls, into “a narrowly tailored” court receivership.

And so, Mr. Viera Rosa.

According to his online bio, the county’s new Chief Strategist for Juvenile Operations has “over 27 years of experience working in the field of corrections and rehabilitation.” 

Most recently, he’s been serving as the Director over the Division of Adult Parole Operations for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

But, we’re told he started his career working with youth, and is good with them. He was up until recently a member of the BSCC. And he is also, according to our sources, unafraid of challenges.

May it be so.

More as we know it.


  • Can you please tell him to stop the reassignments if DPO II’S from the fields to the Halls. This is wrong. DPO’S II worked so hard to promote from the camps and halls to the field and now are being reassigned from one day to the next.

  • You fail to mention in this article that Mr. Viera Rosa was an active BSCC board member at the time he was hired by the BOS. Having said that, one has to wonder why he specifically was chosen for this mystery position. Were any other candidates even considered? Or, was he simply hired to help sway the BSCC and prevent closure of the 2 juvenile halls at their upcoming hearing on the 13th.

    Is Mr. Viera Risa now a Probation employee, and if so, where will he fall in the chain of command? As the Interim Chief PO, KAREN (not Louise as the article has her named) Fletcher should be the top dog but Mr. Viera Rosa’s designated salary implies differently. His hiring appears to be yet another poorly thought out plan by the BOS and it will only add further chaos and confusion to a department that continues to be hamstrung by those county leaders.

  • Hi Celeste… Our board meeting is April 13. There appears to be a typo in your article. The LA special hearing will begin at 10 a.m.
    Tracie Cone
    BSCC Comms Director

  • Editor’s note,

    Tracie and Stella, thanks for spotting the typos. And Stella Blue, all excellent questions that need answering.

    This is our first story on the appointment of Mr. Viera Rosa, and what changes he hopes to bring.


  • To alejandra hernandez

    Is this the same dpo IIs that worked so hard and got caught bringing in drugs to the kids at the halls? please, The Probation Department Internal Affairs and The Union are working hand in hand. Why hasn’t the department highlighting correcting their own? the union don’t want it to go public or Probation/BOS? why wasn’t the public informed?

    why are Probation Internal Affairs and Union allowing people who have been in inappropriate relationships to resign from position yet people who restrain/use pepper spray get condemned to the deepest parts of hell.

    let’s face it, as a tax payer. DPO IIs make damn near 100k. you are better trained, experienced and have higher ranks to deal with the DJJ kids. can’t do the job, quit. a lot of dpo IIs couldn’t run board if their life depended on it. i know a few dpo IIs, supervisors, directors, internal affair investigator and a burea chief who never even stepped foot in juvenile hall or camp.

    Witness LA, there are tons of pictures and videos of minors in the halls and camp terrorizing other minors or minors with their friends posing with pizza, burgers, cell phones, alcohol. it’s not hard to find. shoot, if you want an example look up the rapper Peysoh… someone is giving this guy a phone, food, vape and alcohol. it’s on his instagram for gods sake.

  • @ union/bos working together: You are right (but don’t know why) and you are wrong. You are all over the place. Field DPO IIs are basically afraid of the kids. But the staffing problems will lead to closures of both jhs and Los Padrinos won’t change that unless staff show up. Because of the chronic staffing shortages, minors don’t leave their living units for school, outdoor activities, or visits.

    Not all DPOs have previously worked in a juvenile hall, especially those who worked in camp when they were hired. And yes – some did come in through the field but very very few. There has been effectively ZERO training the entire time field staff have been deployed. Staff who are being assigned will have one week of training before being assigned to a JH. You are wrong in that every bureau chief has in fact “stepped foot” in a juvenile hall. You present no evidence that Internal Affairs, the Board of Superstupids, and the Union are in league or conspiring (you are simply using that rhetoric to provoke for dramatic effect). You are right that drugs/vape pens/phones and other contraband somehow find their way into the jhs. Basically, you throw $@*T at the wall and see what’ll stick.

  • @ Mike,

    I find it odd that you did not address the inappropriate relationships individual Probation staff have with minors. Internal Affairs and The Union have to come to an agreement for a staff to be ALLOWED to resign.This is Signed by Supervisor and Beareu Chief while being represented by Union Members. So how are they not working hand in hand? The supervisors at Sylmar have footage of a probation staff on her knees with a minor. You know damn well that probation gossip like no one’s business. these videos made it out. probation supervisors are showing these videos, why? Why did they walk her out, and at least address it to the media? why no probation hq staff addressing they are cleaning up the department. Perhaps the BOS, the union don’t want it to go public? working together? is that throwing shit at the wall and hoping it sticks?

    i never stated all probation bureau chiefs have stepped foot in halls. i said i know one. yes, DPO II staff are afraid. i know that. You don’t need much training, training on policy, positioning, hall checks, suicide prevention. what you don’t need training is presence. A lot of DPO IIs work with adults. you telling me they need proper training on how to run a board or unit is a joke. You mean to tell me these are the same people that tell grown adults how to follow their terms of probation and enforce it but can’t do the same with minors. Please, you’re not helping your case.

    for you to just say yeah contraband gets in somehow is a joke. they can’t blame, teachers, mental health staff, nurses or the kitchen staff. a lot of these pictures and videos are during rec time.

    btw, a lot of the DPO IIs coming back to halls previously worked movement control, medical module, MAT team (take minors to hospital visits), meal counts, scheduling, return to work, grievances, maysi, dd coordinator, transportation. of course they are afraid, they never worked a unit to begin with

    to all my line staff who have to deal with the unions inability to fight the flu, deal with administrations ineffectiveness and still run board and deal with minors; my utmost respect.

  • Yay, great idea!!!! F—ing Brilliant!!! Bring in another outsider (one with ZERO experience with Los Angeles County or Probation) – from the world of PRISONS – and expect it to get better. More magical thinking. There is no way this person can help and a complete waste of taxpayer money. No one within Probation will trust him. He’s just a player moving towards the money. Just like Adolfo. We would be better off using the money to pay this guy to hire and pay for staff to work the line.

  • @ union/bos working together: You have absolutely now idea what you are talking about do you? “I find it odd that you did not address the inappropriate relationships individual Probation staff have with minors. Internal Affairs and The Union have to come to an agreement for a staff to be ALLOWED to resign. This is Signed by Supervisor and Bureau Chief while being represented by Union Members.” I hope you realize these sentences make no sense. This is beside the fact that this wonderful piece of investigative journalism has nothing to do with that subject.

    I’ll repeat: You present no evidence that Internal Affairs, the Board of Superstupids, and the Union are in league or conspiring (you are simply using that rhetoric to provoke for dramatic effect). You are right that drugs/vape pens/phones and other contraband somehow find their way into the jhs. Basically, you throw $@*T at the wall and see what’ll stick. If you did, you would have reported this to law enforcement and the child abuse hotline, then testifying to it in court. You sound as ridiculous as Eduardo Mundo.

  • To all of the Probation Officers who commented, one question. What is your Union doing?

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