President’s Message: Pepper Spray Update
In February 2019, the Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted to eliminate pepper (OC) spray. Your Union has been advocating since then that it should not be removed unless there are alternatives that will suffice to keep the minors, staff, and service providers in the Institutions safe.
For four years, we have been able to hold off on the removal of OC spray by advocating for safety of minors and staff.
In December 2021, the BOS voted to remove OC spray from CJH in 2 units and to do research on effective training for the staff that will no longer have OC spray available to them.
On February 14, 2023, Chief Probation Officer Gonzales announced that the removal of OC spray from those 2 units will be effective by the end of February. The Union has recommended increasing the staffing ratio in those specific units. Also, in the Chief's message he indicates that OC spray may be removed in its entirety by the end of the year.
The Union is not in agreement with this process but understands that the BOS is the final decision maker. However, we are urgently requesting that alternatives to OC spray be provided before OC spray is eliminated in order to provide safety for those in our custody and for the staff.