COVID-19 & Justice Justice Reform LA County Board of Supervisors LA County Jail LASD Pretrial Detention/Release

Supervisors Vote to Expand Data Collection in Push to “Reimagine” Justice in LA County

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

While the county has made important progress over the last decade to increase data collection and dissemination, through the Open Data portal launched in 2015, there are many things we don’t know about LA’s criminal justice system and the outcomes it produces.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of two motions intended to push the county toward greater transparency around local criminal justice statistics. These motions align with the supervisors’ efforts to build a “care-first, jail-last,” justice system, and an anti-racist county policy agenda.

The first motion, by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, is focused on collecting data regarding pretrial detention and release during the coronavirus crisis. Approximately 46 percent of the county jail population is comprised of individuals who have not been found guilty of a crime, but who are awaiting trial.

In order to reduce the likelihood that coronavirus would slam LA County’s jail system, LA’s justice system leaders and the superior court worked together to reduce the county’s incarcerated population by 5,000 people — from 17,002 at the end of January to 12,026 by June. The pretrial population was reduced by approximately 2,000 during this time.

The overall jail population reduction was rapid and “unprecedented,” Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis wrote in their motion. These efforts, plus state and county-level “zero bail” schedules in response to the pandemic, and new reforms that include a pretrial pilot program and a court date reminder system are responsible for reducing the number of people held in jail while they await trial. But more data is necessary in order to determine how well these reforms are working, so that the county can successfully maintain a reduced jail population.

Thus, Tuesday’s motion directs the CEO’s Office to work with county criminal justice agencies and departments to compare the state of pretrial detention in LA County before and after the coronavirus crisis arrived.

Under that umbrella, the supes want to see data on pretrial risk assessments, failure-to-appear rates since the pandemic began, and outcomes for defendants during and after adjudication during the pandemic. The county will also look at what services justice system-involved Angelenos received, including court reminder calls, transportation to court, and connection with the Office of Diversion and Reentry (ODR).

These datasets will be broken down by charges, type of release (whether via cash bail, the state-wide emergency bail schedule, if they were released on their own recognizance, etc.), race, gender, and age.

The motion calls for the CEO to report back to the board in 270 days, with quarterly updates to follow.

The second motion, by Supervisors Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas, calls for the creation of a Criminal Justice Data Sharing Initiative to collect and publicly release data about LA County’s justice-involved population “with the appropriate privacy protections.”

To “even begin to meet” demands for changes to public safety and justice in LA County, with particular attention on the ways the system “serves to … oppress Black, Indigenous, and other people of color,” Kuehl and MRT wrote, the county must have comprehensive — and publicly accessible — data.

With the passage of this latest motion, county departments will gather and report “easily accessible” data regarding incarceration, probation, mental health, use-of-force, prosecution, and diversion. The numbers will be broken down by race, gender, age and other demographic features.

Two of eight categories of data to be collected through the new initiative.

Comprehensive data-gathering, “is necessary for smart policy reform,” Kuehl said. It allows the board “to make informed and cost-effective policies” — which is “important in any budget year, but especially in those like we face today.”

“We’ve moved 5,000 people out of the jail into [Office of Diversion and Reentry] programs,” she said. “We want to know: where are they? Have they been helped?”

“Publicly accessible data,” said Kuehl, “allows all of our community members, as well, to understand these outcomes and to participate in crafting policies that are responsive to needs.”

The short-term “revitalization” of the county’s Open Data portal with easily accessible data points, will be followed with long-term solutions as county stakeholders consult with experts to “develop an even more robust data sharing proposal,” Kuehl said.

LA County’s “need for better data becomes ever more clear and urgent as the county works to strengthen law enforcement accountability, alternatives to incarceration, probation oversight, youth justice reform, and the implementation of other reforms,” Ridley-Thomas said. The data will also work as a “thermometer for ensuring the successful development and implementation of an anti-racist policy agenda for this county.”

When it was his turn to address the board, Sheriff Alex Villanueva told the supes that his “concern with these motions” was that the data gathering is focused on the “justice impacted population,” yet “none of them say anything about what happens to the victims,” who are “involuntarily involved in the criminal justice system,” and who “suffer horrendous things, up to and including death.”

“The board,” Villanueva said, “has elected not to really talk about victims of crime or represent victims in the criminal justice system, I am here to represent” them.

Before the sheriff could finish his next sentence, Ridley-Thomas interjected.

“I take exception to that,” the supervisor said.

“Sir, you can take all the exception you want,” said Villanueva.

“I just did,” said Ridley-Thomas. “Your check on the board for not representing victims is uncalled for, and it shouldn’t stand without being challenged.”

“You can challenge it all you want, sir,” the sheriff said. “Where is the data collection on victims? I don’t see it on item three or four. In fact, it is absent from the conversation.”

“I would be more than happy to support if you create a board motion to discuss victims of crime and their plight in the criminal justice system,” said Villanueva. “I will support you 100 percent, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.”

A friendly amendment from Supervisor Kathryn Barger did, in fact, add victim statistics to the list of datasets that will be collected thanks to Tuesday’s motion. The county will gather information on crime victims and how the county served those victims in the wake of the crime.

“I think there is sometimes a misguided idea that the board does not care about victims,” Kuehl said, pointing to rewards offered for information on violent crimes, and public health centers and services geared toward victims. “I wholeheartedly support this amendment.”

Bill Keho, the CIO within the CEO’s Strategic Integration Division, told the board of his office’s plans for Open Data 2.0, which will include working with both internal and external stakeholders” to create “a road map that takes open data to the next level” to provide “more value to LA County departments and to the public.”

“This motion,” Keho said, “will jumpstart that vision.”

10 Comments

  • I can not believe Shiela Kuehl’s stupid response regarding victims. It proves what a complete moron she is. We care about victims, look when they get killed we provide rewards. When they get raped we have counseling’s centers and other services for them. We care, really! You know I do believe the entire does not want anyone to be a victim but this Board has forgotten their number one obligation is to keep the community safe.

  • Citizens just need to take care of themselves.

    Go buy guns and ammo, as your rights guarantee…unless Dems take that away.

    Then go voice your opinion to them, unless Dems take that away.

    Then go storm the capital and take back your state. But you can’t.

    Anyone who stays in California is opting to be a victim of a government run by criminals for criminals. They are taking away your rights, forcing you to stay indoors while thugs are given free access to anywhere they want because it’s “exercising free speech.”

    Let the savages have California but stop giving them your money.

    Just remember what happened to your state when you leave though. Keep liberal policies out of normal states.

  • I think we just got our first taste of “reimagined” justice when the State Attorney General decided to file charges against Jackie Lacey’s husband for brandishing a firearm ON HIS OWN PORCH in the wee hours of the morning against an angry mob who descended on his home. If that mob were male Whites carrying Confederate flags, Mr. Lacey would be hailed as a hero. Instead, he’s facing criminal charges for asserting his Second Amendment Right to protect himself and his property.

    Why?

    Because despite being Democrats, the Laceys ain’t woke enough and aren’t towing the radical left BLM line. The Democratic liberal machine now eats its young whole and they’ve just used the Laceys to demonstrate to the rest of the party what can happen if some in the party fail to fall in line. Most of these ANTIFA/BLM/Defunders are pasty white, video game-addicted suburbanites; yet they are the ones quashing the voices of black dissenters both by mob intimidation and now by a weaponized State Attorney General’s Office. Whatever your cause, it’s White on Black crime and we have a media condoning it by silence.

    I thought Black lives mattered.

    I don’t know the Laceys, but it’s quite apparent they are hard working, law abiding citizens who, sadly, probably faced some adversity along the way. Communities of all colors can look to this family for inspiration for their achievements. Instead of society heralding the accomplishments of the Laceys, it has bear witness to a political pawn who has to fight for his freedom because we’re in an election year. It’s despicable. And it’s the kind of shit you’d expect to see in a banana republic. Then again, most lefties own a Che Guevara flag or T-shirt so maybe emulating a third world communist shit hole sits well with them.

    Have you hippies found a way to fit Stalin and Lenin onto your T-shirts?

    • It’s a purity spiral. People outside the spiral become confused because how does anti-racism lead to attacking black people? But what the non woke don’t understand is that individual people don’t matter. What matters is how pure you are within the ideology, how pure your ideas and thoughts are. That’s why you see pasty whitey white people haranguing black people for not being anti-racist enough. It’s kind of a white people thing, that’s why you see so much of it in mostly white cities like Portland and Seattle.

  • Ron (ALADS):
    Of course we all know about the prop to de-fund LASD. As we move closer to all out anarchy and our home(LA County) is turning into a socialist crap hole, I want to convey some warnings. First, if this passes, ALADS is done! Early forecasts suggest that 1, 500 deputies and an equal number of civilian staff will lose their jobs. A total of 3,000. And that won’t be the end of the losses. Consider (again) getting a strong group of citizens and politicos to dump the BOS and get other people. This won’t be cheap but it can be done. Either ALADS fights or lays down. I don’t see another option. Of course, the City of LA and LA County will file for bankruptcy once families and business leave. I already live outside the county and my brothers have moved their business.

    Second, should that incompetent, racist buffoon (Gascon)win the election for DA that will be the last nail on the coffin for anything decent in LA County. From the people I talk to, Lacy should win, I hope. Then again, I don’t socialize with socialist.

    Third, get everyone one together. All agencies, sworn and professional staff and get this moving.

    Fourth, go read Rule for Radicals by Sal Alinsky. That’s their play book and fight back. Protest their houses and get petitions (recall)for their ouster. I assure you that all the different sheriffs from all counties will help as their head is next on the chopping block. You won’t believe this but, myself and hundreds of deputies once protested cuts by the BOS by walking with signs up and down Whittier Blvd.

    Again, this may all seem too risky but what other avenues do we have?

    I’m doing all I can behind the scenes. If I get caught it won’t be too bad as I can readily retire comfortably. Unless they try to connect to Russian election interference? LOL

    “Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of the earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.” Whitman

    • Um, can we start a conversation with out threats of “ALADS is done!”

      It would make it more sensible, and realistic.

      There are always allot of assumptions regarding what we are, or not doing. Best way to get up to speed is be a Unit Rep, or call me and ask.

      Are you aware of the lawsuit regarding this ballot measure?

      • Ron: I apologize for the remark re an urgency that I feel for ALADS and my beloved LA County. I was born and raised in LA County along with my family that dates back more than a hundred years. Yes, I’m aware of the lawsuit but……..I learned from a war to be flexible and be prepared at all times. Frankly, the courts have been hesitant to to get involved with props on any ballot for voters. The socialist are beating America with our own sense of values and freedom. Should this prop and Gascon win there will be no freedom left to defend.

        We are going to need more that luck; we will need providence! I got to get back and fight some more on changing minds.

        “The issue is never the issue the issue is always the agenda! “(SDS) This was never just about changing the system of justice; this was and is about getting our blood!

        • @Um. I agree, especially in regard to your last sentence.

          Know that we are fighting the ballot measure on procedure and lawfullness, and we are in fact focused on the true underlying problems.

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