BSCC Finds LA Juvenile Halls Unsuitable

SACRAMENTO (May 23, 2023) -- The Board of State and Community Corrections today found two Los Angeles County juvenile halls unsuitable for housing youth, an unprecedented vote that comes after years of BSCC staff inspections identifying items of noncompliance.

The vote means that the Board has determined both Central Juvenile Hall and Barry J. Nidorf are unsuitable for the confinement of youth within the meaning of Welfare and Institutions Code section 209, subdivision (a)(4) and (d). The Los Angeles County Probation Department has 60 days to find alternate housing for the nearly 300 youth being held awaiting adjudication of their charges.

After years of BSCC inspection and technical assistance, LA County has been unable to correct items of noncompliance that threaten the well-being of youth, including: inadequate safety checks; room confinement that extends beyond what is outlined in regulations; the lack of programs, recreation and exercise; inadequate staffing; and use of force. The Board was not receptive to requests for an extension from the probation department.

“We have stayed in this process much longer than I’m comfortable with,” said Board Chair Linda Penner. “I’m concerned with the youth who are there right now, and we really must address that. The time has come to take this extraordinary move.”

Following the issuance of a Jan. 13, 2023, inspection report, the county failed to file an adequate corrective action plan detailing how the issues could and would be corrected by June 12, 2023.

On April 13, 2023, the Board held a special session on the Determination of Suitability. The Board deferred action at that time because the county had moved to make some improvements. It also gave the BSCC time to conduct follow up inspection to determine progress towards compliance. During inspections conducted in late April, BSCC staff determined that no significant items of noncompliance had been corrected, especially those related directly to staffing.

Los Angeles County now has 60 days from May 24, 2023, to find suitable housing for the youth. The county has notified the BSCC that it is planning to reopen, remodel and move youth to the Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. The BSCC will conduct a pre-opening inspection of any new or renovated facility to ensure compliance with Title 24 standards, which govern the physical plant. During pre-opening inspections, the BSCC staff will ensure that facility policies and procedures are compliant with the Title 15 standards governing operations. A comprehensive inspection will take place after youth occupy the facility.

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