Tuesday’s Board Of Supervisor’s meeting involved much drama, lots of side players, gobs of backroom gossip, weeks of lobbying and finally two presentations—one by Sheriff Lee Baca, the other by Probation Chief Don Blevins— both aimed at gaining LA County’s new state parolee contract. The meeting also featured the revelation that the Sheriff’s plan costs quite a bit more money than that of Probation.
Now, however, everything has changed.
Thursday afternoon the word floated around that the Sheriff had backed off on his proposal and said he was willing to share the contract with Probation. It isn’t clear whether the LASD mainly means they want to share the money that accompanies the contract. In any case, they are willing to step aside and let Probation do what it is clearly better equipped to do than law enforcement, meanly to oversee and aide parolees as they attempt to reenter law-abiding life.
I’m up in the wilds of West Glacier cadging WiFi from a cafe, so I’ll turn the rest of the story over to Robert Faturechi of the LA Times:
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has backed down in his bid for the department to take on sole supervision of state parolees, an official confirmed Thursday evening, opting instead for a hybrid plan that would leave his deputies out of rehabilitation.
Baca’s initial proposal was an unprecedented attempt to handle the thousands of parolees being passed from the state to the local level instead of the county’s probation officers, who already do that sort of work.
No law enforcement agency in the nation, officials say, handles parole or probation supervision, a task decidedly more oriented toward social work.
Critics blasted Baca’s plan, saying that it presented potential conflicts of interest because the same deputies who were arresting and jailing criminals would have also been serving as caseworkers after the inmates were released.
Assistant Sheriff Cecil Rhambo said Baca decided to allow the county’s Probation Department to handle reentry and case management, while sheriff’s deputies and possibly LAPD officers do traditional suppression work and compliance checks.
“I don’t know that it was a back-down,” Rhambo said. “At the executive meeting today, listening to all the nuts and bolts as to what it takes to manage this, as people were throwing out the labor-intensity of it all, [Baca] thought what might work better is a hybrid version…..”
Leave a Comment