Board of Supervisors Adopts Motion to Transform Juvenile Justice

Board of Supervisors Adopts Motion to Transform Juvenile Justice 1024 888 Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath


Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted three motions to better meet the needs of juvenile justice-involved young people, two authored and one co-authored by Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath. Taken together, the motions lay out a comprehensive plan to immediately improve conditions for youth inside juvenile halls and camps, and build a new system of care through the Department of Youth Development (DYD) that will bring to life Los Angeles County’s Care First, Jails Last vision.

Immediate impacts include releasing eligible young people and increasing programming inside the halls and camps (Item 2 – Mitchell/Horvath); upgrading facilities and hiring appropriate staff to receive young people from state facilities as mandated by state law (Item 5 – Horvath/Hahn); and exploring options to move budget, programming, and operational authority from the Probation Department to DYD (Item 6 – Horvath/Mitchell).

“These motions take immediate action to offer young people the programs, support, and timely release that are critical to their success. We are also taking steps to move authority from Probation to the Department of Youth Development, which was created last year as the restorative justice hub that should be leading the care of young people involved in the justice system,” said Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath. “The Probation Department has not delivered on its promise to lead with care; it’s time to hold them accountable and to build a new juvenile justice system under DYD. We can’t do this alone and we call on state legislators to step up for youth by changing state law that will allow the Board to empower DYD to oversee juvenile justice. Young people need our leadership and now is the time to get it done.”

Key details on the two motions authored by Supervisor Horvath are outlined below.

ITEM 6 (Horvath/Mitchell) – Care First, Jails Last: Holding the Probation Department Accountable and Advancing Youth Justice Reimagined

  • Immediately brings programming into facilities to give young people the hope and tools they need to be successful.

  • Begins planning for DYD to take the lead in establishing programs and services for justice system-impacted youth in the halls and camps.

  • Requires regular reporting from the Probation Department across operational areas, including staffing vacancies and incidents involving youth inside halls and camps, as a mechanism to increase transparency and accountability inside Probation.

  • Calls for identifying funding streams that can be legally moved from Probation to DYD and taking steps to stop the Probation Department’s budget from growing without justification.

  • Holds labor accountable by analyzing existing contracts to identify provisions that are not conducive to implementing the principles of Youth Justice Reimagined.

“The County has a sacred obligation to provide a safe, healthy, and rehabilitative environment for the young people in its care. The crisis in the juvenile halls has been a sobering reminder of the urgency with which we must transition away from the punitive approach to youth justice,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “Today, the Board of Supervisors took decisive action and reaffirmed its commitment to realizing the Care-First vision of a Los Angeles County where young people thrive.”

ITEM 5 (Horvath/Hahn) – Adopting a Global Plan for the Probation Department’s Halls and Camps

  • Calls for a strategic plan to decompress Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall and make appropriate enhancements to camp facilities so that specific youth populations can be moved to juvenile camps, under a plan that is grounded in the four pillars of safety for the community; intentional selection of youth for each facility; meaningful programs and services; and appropriate staffing levels.

  • Launches a recruitment for specially trained staff to oversee Secure Youth Treatment Facility (SYTF) units within juvenile halls and camps. These units will house young people coming to Los Angeles County from state-run facilities now through July.

  • Brings programming into SYTF units informed by youth feedback, along with Credible Messengers who are formerly justice-involved professionals.

  • Upgrade juvenile detention facilities to home-like environments and move youth to these settings.

“Our juvenile halls are in crisis. The status quo is unacceptable to both the youth in our care and the staff who work with them,” said Board Chair Janice Hahn. “We have laid out a plan to not only immediately address the conditions youth in Barry J. Nidorf are experiencing, but also for a long-term plan for our probation facilities. I have run out of patience and I think my colleagues have too. I expect to see the Probation Department treat this crisis with the urgency it demands.”

For details on Item 2 – Ensuring the Use of Least Restrictive Placements for Young People in the Probation Department’s Care and Custody – authored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell and co-authored by Supervisor Horvath, which calls for the early release of young people in custody, see Supervisor Mitchell’s press release.

For more information on each of these motions, see the agenda for the March 21, 2023 meeting.


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