Local 685 Tells CA Gov., Legislature: Youth Need Modern Facilities!
The following is a letter sent from Stacy Ford, Camps VP, to Governor Newsom and the CA Legislature:
As you know, the Board of State and Community Correction (BSCC) found that the Los Angeles County Probation Department was out of compliance with some policies under the BSCC Title 15 guidelines. As a result of these deficiencies, the L.A. Probation Department, specifically Central Juvenile Hall, was given 30 days to correct such deficiencies or face the closure of Central Juvenile Hall. Due to the collective efforts of Probation Department employees, management, and the AFSCME Local 685 Executive Board, these deficiencies were corrected; thereby, passing the BSCC Audit. This was a huge hurdle to overcome, and we did it!
I would like to address a disturbing misperception regarding the BSCC audit; specifically, that Probation Officers are denying the youth in our care the ability to use the rest room. This is blatantly false – we would never deny a minor access to a rest room; however, there are indeed times when we delay such a request to assure that the minors are safe.
EXAMPLE: Two youth from rival gangs request to use the restroom at the same time. The Officer is aware that these young men are rivals and are likely to engage in a fight, possibly leading to a riot. Therefore, the Officer only allows one youth at a time to use the rest room. This is a delay for one of the youth; it is not a denial. (Click here to see a recent fight at the Essex County Correctional Facility.)
L.A. County Probation facilities are in urgent need of modernization to provide the care-first, therapeutic environment that justice-involved youth need and deserve. Currently, the Probation Department provides just one restroom for approximately 15 youth in a unit. If the Department had a modern facility with a toilet and sink in each room, the issues that we as Officers face with the rival gangs would not be an issue. With modern facilities, we can expand upon the care-first, therapeutic model that we all want for the youth on probation. As professional Probation/Peace Officers, we want nothing more than to do our jobs in a safe and secure facility where staff, youth, teachers, and treatment providers feel safe. We all want what’s best for Los Angeles’ justice-involved youth.
I suggest that you visit the new juvenile Probation facility in San Diego and compare it to the outdated L.A. County facility.