Board Agenda Item #22 - Pre-Trial
Date: March 1, 2022
To: Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Chair
Supervisor Hilda L. Solis
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
Supervisor Janice Hahn
Supervisor Kathryn Barger
From: Coalition of Probation Unions
Re: Agenda Item 22 – Board Motion (Care First, Jails Last – Justice, Care,
and Opportunities Department - Probation, Pre-Trial Services)
Dear Honorable Members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors:
This letter is submitted on behalf of the Coalition of Los Angeles County Probation Unions – AFSCME Locals 685 and 1967, and the Joint Council of Supervising Deputy Probation Officers, SEIU Local 721 – representing the dedicated rank and file, supervising probation officers, and management staff.
Los Angeles County Probation’s Pre-Trial Services program performs a critical function related to the administration and integrity of the judicial process by providing Los Angeles County Superior Court judges with important background information in consideration of an arrestee’s record, in the determination of bail, and for the protection of public safety and victim rights.
The California Supreme Court in its Humphrey Decision, specifically in providing direction to lower courts in the determination of bail, emphasized the need for judges to focus on:
Risks to the public;
Victim safety; and
Integrity of the judicial process.
Probation Department Pre-Trial Services
In consideration of ensuring an arrestee’s presence in court for trial, the Humphrey court noted that non-financial conditions such as the following may be sufficient to protect the community and victims:
Supervision by pretrial services
Community housing or shelter
Drug and alcohol testing and treatment
The L.A. County Probation Department’s Pre-Trial Reform Evaluation Pilot Program (PREP) with the California Judicial Council provides these services and is supported by the judges of the L.A. Superior Court and community victim rights groups. As part of the PREP pilot, persons released are screened for needs and connected to a community-based service provider, at no cost, for referral for the following services:
Drug Treatment and Alcohol Treatment
The Coalition of Probation Unions, representing thousands of employees that not only work every day in the L.A. County Probation Department but also live in the communities you represent, is a valuable stakeholder. Our collective voices should be heard before your Board makes life-altering decisions to centralize Pre-Trial Services and/or transfer the award-winning Pre-Trial Services program away from the Probation Department.
We believe that transferring, eliminating, or centralizing important Probation jobs will adversely impact the integrity of the judicial process, harm public community safety, and subject victims to being further victimized by implementing an experimental program without evidence-based support. The L.A. County Probation Department’s Pre-Trial Services program, which in June 2021 was recognized by the National Association of Counties (NACO) in criminal justice and public safety as demonstrating best practices and innovative programs, remains an integral part of California public safety law.
We look forward to meeting with each of your justice deputies and/or representatives of the Chief Executive Office to share important information and professional insight regarding the value of maintaining Pre-Trial Services in the Probation Department that may have been overlooked or omitted.