Probation Media Contact: (562) 315-3388
For Immediate Release:
February 8, 2024
LA COUNTY PROBATION DEPARTMENT STATEMENT ON THE BSCC RECENT INSPECTION FINDINGS
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Probation Department is facing significant challenges in its efforts to improve its facilities. As the country’s largest juvenile detention system, we have been at the forefront of providing care, rehabilitation, and education to young offenders in the Los Angeles area for decades. As part of our mission, the Probation Department recognizes the need to upgrade its infrastructure and services to better meet the evolving needs of its residents.
“Under its new leadership, and my commitment to the Board of Supervisors’ vision for the future of juvenile justice reform in LA County, the Probation Department has been unwavering in its responsibility to achieving the goals outlined by the BSCC for the improvement of our juvenile facilities,” said Chief Guillermo Viera Rosa. “All of our efforts are working towards bringing the Department into compliance in a way that allows us to not be back in this place five years from now. We are designing a sustainable plan that will guide the Department into the future.”
He continued, “Making the comprehensive changes requested by the BSCC and shifting the overall culture of the County’s juvenile institutions is a monumental undertaking that necessitates both time and dedication. We have the dedication, we need the time. The issues identified by BSCC and others have been persistent for over 20 years. We cannot piecemeal the solution. This is a systemic problem that requires changing an entire operational culture.”
“The Probation Department recognizes that lasting transformation cannot be rushed and that it requires careful planning, collaboration, and a steadfast commitment to long-term goals. BSCC chose to set the timeline despite our request for 150 days to properly transition the youth from Central and Barry J. Nidorf to Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall and institute change. While the goals that BSCC has given to us are not ambitious in and of themselves–the timeframe they gave us to complete the work is. To effectuate meaningful change, it is imperative to address deeply ingrained practices and foster a cultural shift that prioritizes rehabilitation, support, and the well-being of the young individuals in our care.
“Despite the conflicting requirements imposed by various state agencies that have created a significant hindrance to our progress toward achieving compliance, we are making progress in improving the quality of services provided to youth in our juvenile detention facilities and we will continue to move forward. We are working collaboratively with our County partners, including the Department of Mental Health, Department of Youth Development, and the Office of Education, to meet the needs of the young people in our care.
“It’s important to understand that these conflicting mandates create confusion, add complexity to our compliance efforts, and ultimately delay our ability to meet the standards set by the BSCC and other external agencies. Streamlining and harmonizing these requirements is essential to expediting our compliance efforts and ensuring that we can effectively meet all regulatory obligations.
“The ongoing collaboration between the department and the BSCC demonstrates a shared commitment to transforming the juvenile justice system for the better, focusing on evidence-based practices and a rehabilitative approach that aims to empower youth for a brighter future.
“The Probation Department remains steadfast in its mission to meet and exceed the BSCC’s expectations, making significant strides toward creating a more safe, just and compassionate environment for juveniles within its facilities.
“We are all working towards the same goal: LA County wants our youth in our community. We share and are focused on the same goals of transforming youth lives, rehabilitation and community safety. Paramount to rehabilitation is youth engagement, family connections, ample staffing and purposeful activity. We must work together during this crisis to improve the outcomes and conditions for our youth.”