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For Immediate Release:
September 7, 2018
Los Angeles-Berlin Probation Exchange Program visiting Campus Kilpatrick
LOS ANGELES-The Los Angeles County Probation Department recently welcomed members of the Berlin Probation Department as part of the second phase of the Los Angeles/Berlin Probation Department Exchange Program.
The first part of the program began this past April when eleven L.A. County Probation staff traveled to Berlin, Germany to learn about their probation services, programs, and customs. The L.A. group stayed in the homes of their German counterparts and got to experience the home and work lives of the German Probation Officers.
This fall, it was the Germans’ turn as ten Berlin Probation Officers, including their Chief Gitta Schleinecke, traveled to Los Angeles and became immersed in the workings of L.A. County Probation. Each visiting German Probation Officer was hosted by staff they previously hosted in Germany back in April. The Berlin deputies learned about the life of a Los Angeles Probation Officer and got a glimpse of American culture.
During their two-week stay, the Berlin Probation Officers visited Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall, LAPD’s Mission Station, Probation’s Training Center, Twin Towers Correctional Facility, the Long Beach Probation Area Office, Campus Kilpatrick and witnessed adult and juvenile court hearings.
Los Angeles County Probation Staff in Berlin
Berlin Probation learning about Felony Trail and Teen Court with Judge Sandoval out of Department 129
In addition to these locations, the delegation spent some free time at a few of L.A.’s iconic landmarks including Fox Studios, the Hollywood Sign, and a L.A. Philharmonic concert. Their U.S. visit concluded with a tour of Alcatraz and San Quentin State Prison in Northern California.
At a meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl formally welcomed the delegates to Los Angeles. In her greeting, she underscored the value in professional global exchange program such as this.
“It is a reminder of how important and valuable it is to share best practices, not only within our state and our country, but around the world,” Supervisor Kuehl expressed.
At the Board meeting, Los Angeles County Chief Probation Officer Terri L. McDonald also shared her thoughts about the importance of this program.
“What many may not realize is that European countries tend to be more progressive in their approach towards criminal justice practices, both in juvenile and adult,” she said. “There has to be accountability for people’s behaviors, but accountability isn’t always a detention plan, or long-term consequences that lead to incarceration. My team was profoundly impacted by their experience in Germany. We look forward to many more experiences for our teams to grow.”
Berlin Probation Chief Gitta Schleinecke received an official scroll from the County Board of Supervisors and she shared her appreciation for the opportunity to spend time with and glean from her American probation counterparts. She noted that she was overwhelmed by the warm welcome she and her team received everywhere they went, especially from their host families.
Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl welcoming Berlin Probation to Los Angeles County
Presentation of County scroll to Berlin Probation Chief Gitta Schleinecke
Chief Schleinecke also noted that she was impressed with the L.A. Model and the new juvenile reform processes. “I am very enthusiastic about the many therapeutic offers in the (Los Angeles County Probation) facilities for young people,” said Chief Schleinecke. “I will take many new impressions with me for my work in Berlin. I hope this exchange will continue.”
L.A. Probation Deputy Director Howard Wong, who helped coordinate the exchange, noted that, “This exchange and the first-hand experience of observing how different systems work effectively on a similar type of population to ours has imparted some valuable insight and possibilities for the future of our Department.”
Berlin’s Assistant Chief Probation Officer Klaus Chinea Correa said that he participated in a similar experience in the past and was pleased with the progressive innovations he observed during his American stay.
“20 years ago, I took part in this exchange program and I am glad to be here again,” he said. “I was surprised about the many changes in a positive direction and the new approaches in probation work.”
The exchange between Probation Departments was facilitated by the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation and Sister Cities International.