The Probation Department will be facing significant challenges ahead as they work to find a new chief and implement the Department’s three-year Strategic Plan.
The juvenile side of Probation is emerging from six years of federal monitoring. It will be important to assure the Department does not fall back into court-ordered federal monitoring. Our core function is to conduct inspections of camps and facilities throughout the year to assure there are no conditions that would trigger the return of mandated monitoring.
The Department’s Strategic Plan will be an ambitious undertaking. It is my belief that the efforts of oversight by the Commission must coincide with implementation of the Department’s plan.
- Improve public safety by reducing recidivism.
- Operate facilities that promote healthy development and skills to be achieved by:
- Educational and vocational skills programs
- Internal quality assurance and improvement strategies
- Reforming use of the Special Handling Unit(s)
- Implement “Youth Councils” within each facility
- Population and families survey
- Enhance victim’s rights.
- Attract, develop and maintain an exemplary and motivated workforce.
- Enhance the culture of the Department.
The Commission will continue to provide oversight of the additional recidivism prevention and skills development programs.
Commission inspections will incorporate oversight of Goal #2 and report our findings of concern to the Department.
The Commission shall seek to review the “Population and Families Surveys” throughout the year to assure humane care and safety within the Department’s facilities and will monitor the implementation of the “Youth Councils” within each facility.
The Probation Commission shall continue to move forward with the mission of providing independent, unbiased oversight of the Probation Department. It will be important for the Commission to petition for funding and resources to achieve this mission and achieve parity with other oversight and advisory bodies within the County.
We also have a duty to submit an Annual Commission Report to the Board of Supervisors. Our other duties are to submit formal reports and responses from the Probation Department to the State Department of Justice. The Commission will pursue resources and funding for training of new commissioners and continual training for all commissioners so that mandated inspections and reporting are consistent and thorough.
The Commission will also assure transparency with the public at large and must comply with the Brown Act. All facility and annual reports will be available for public inspection through our webpage along with our agendas and other relevant material.
The Commission will continue to be focused, professional and efficient in the manner in which it conducts its public business.
What is outlined in this document is by no means all the Commission will be tasked to do. It will take the spirit of cooperation and teamwork to do the work ahead. I look forward to working with all members of the Commission, the Probation Department and Board of Supervisors.
Thank you in advance for your collaboration as we go forward in the months to come.
Joe Gardner, President
Los Angeles County Probation Commission