LA Juvenile Halls Found Suitable; New Issues Arise and Need Correction

SACRAMENTO (Nov. 18, 2021) – After providing several weeks of technical assistance, the Board of State and Community Corrections determined today that the issues at Los Angeles County juvenile halls that had made the facilities noncompliant with the Board’s regulations and therefore made the facilities unsuitable for the confinement of youth have been remedied.

This determination means the county will not have to remove young people from the facilities at this time, which they would have been required to do by November 30, 2021.

“We are pleased that the County remedied the issues of noncompliance,” said Board Chair Linda Penner. “However, it should not have come to the point of the Board finding the facilities not suitable to get those items corrected, and we have continuing concerns. The Board will continue to exercise its authority in these matters.”

While the prior items of noncompliance have been remedied, the BSCC staff also notified the Board of new problems regarding safety checks and room confinement at the Barry J. Nidorf and Central Juvenile Halls. The county has begun to address those issues and are required to submit a corrective action plan by December 14, 2021.

“I’m really concerned,” Penner said to LA Probation Department officials, “that we have to remain in LA to ensure you are suitable when what I’m not hearing is an overarching plan for quality assurance in your facility. How will you give the public and this Board confidence that there is a long-range plan to ensure safety and suitability in your facilities?”

In February 2021, the juvenile halls were found to be out of compliance with several of the Board’s regulations, which required the Probation Department to develop a corrective action plan. While some issues were remedied, the facilities continued to be out of compliance with several health and safety regulations, including not providing young people physical exams within 96 hours of admission and incorrectly documenting the use of psychotropic medications.

At its September 16, 2021, meeting the Board found that both juvenile halls were not suitable for the confinement of youth.  Pursuant to this action, on Oct. 1, 2021, the Board issued a 60-day notice that the facilities were unsuitable and that the county would no longer be able to house youth at the facilities.  Since notice was issued, the Board’s inspector provided ongoing technical assistance and monitored progress as the issues were addressed.

While there will be ongoing monitoring of the county, this process closes out the 2018-2020 inspection cycle. The 2020-2022 inspection cycle will begin early next year and compliance with all of the Board’s regulations will be evaluated.

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