Our 3-Point Plan to Strengthen & Modernize Probation to Protect Communities, Workers, and Crime Victims
On Monday, April 25, professional probation-peace officers, supervisors, and managers were joined by victims of heinous crimes and labor union leaders representing County employees who provide support and triage to probation, facilitating a full spectrum of services to justice-involved juveniles to rally in support of a solution to strengthen and modernize probation services. Probation professionals laid out a 3-part plan to modernize and strengthen probation:
SAFETY: Improve safety for justice-involved youth and staff working in juvenile probation facilities by urging the Board of Supervisors to lift the hiring freeze.
FACILITIES: Since the facility itself sets the tone and acts as a critical component of the successful rehabilitation of the youth served, we are requesting $1 billion from the State of California for the construction of three new state-of-the-art facilities to better serve justice-involved youth with the level of service they deserve and to accomplish our mutual goals.
TRAINING: (a) Creation of a new regional deputy probation officer training facility to ensure that we are providing a rock-solid foundation of education to those in the profession, as well as regular, ongoing, and remedial training to bolster the quality of care for the juveniles and adults we are charged with monitoring and rehabilitating. (b) The establishment of an on-line member training program to enhance the important work of members. In partnership with Dr. Vonetta West, formerly the Director of Education and Training for The King Center, we are launching a series of online workshops to enhance the culture of our work to reflect:
A shared commitment to the sustained well-being of the youth served and their families, and of our members who are working in these very challenging environments.
A shared commitment to creating spaces that honor both probation officers and youth, promote constructive disciple, and yield tangible behavior changes.
And a shared commitment to leadership that transcends position and embraces community.
“The L.A. County Probation Department once had as many as 3,000 juveniles in the Halls and Camps. Because of the hard work of Probation staff working to rehabilitate the youth, that number is now down to approximately 500 justice-involved youth,” said Deputy Probation Officer Hans Liang, who serves as president of the L.A. County Deputy Probation Officers Union, AFSCME Local 685. “The youth that remain in the Halls and Camps clearly need more intensive supervision and more treatment. Probation staff – together with County and private service providers – currently provide that treatment under ever more dangerous conditions. And these dangerous conditions are increasing both on the streets and in community-based facilities.”
“Probation Officers are positioned to be critical contributors to the health and safety of communities, particularly youth and adults in crisis. I have been inspired by the dedication of the group of probation officers I have engaged, and I look forward to engaging more probation officers in creating cultures that honor the dignity of all people, including probationers.” - Dr. Vonnetta L. West, cultural consultant, nonviolence trainer, and Principal Owner of Go West Consulting.
“Crime is escalating and we are doing our best to protect the community – everyone from the youth in our care, people working 3-4 jobs to those in Beverly Hills who are being victimized by gangs on our streets, and even ourselves. But the system is broken and for the sake of the victims and potential victims, we need to make a change now.” – Deborah Lares, L.A. County Probation Manager, President, Professional Managers Association, AFSCME Local 1967.
Cathy Familathe, Parents of Murdered Children
Hans Liang, President, L.A. County Deputy Probation Officers Union, AFSCME Local 685
Jim Schoengarth, President, Joint Council of Supervising Deputy Probation Officers, SEIU Local 721
Deborah Lares, President, Professional Managers Association, AFSCME Local 1967
Ron Herrera, President, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Dave Gillotte, President, L.A. County Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 1014, and Chair of the Coalition of County Unions