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The Probation Reform and Implementation Team met to discuss a new mission and vision for the nation’s largest probation department, as well as to consider an organizational structure that supports separate adult and juvenile probation operations.
It was the third in a series of public meetings being held over several months to develop a comprehensive plan for reforming the department, as well as to transform the existing Probation Commission into a new, strengthened Probation Oversight Commission. The effort is in line with the Board of Supervisors’ far-reaching commitment to criminal justice reform, and is expected to result in better outcomes for youth and adults under probation supervision, and to make probation more transparent and accountable to the public.
The team heard from experts and stakeholders in probation reform, including the current Probation Chief, a former Probation Chief, judicial representatives and union representatives.
“Systems change requires deep and sustained engagement from multiple perspectives. By hearing from judges, probationers, union representatives, the department’s leadership, and the public today, the supervisors’ appointees will be able to present an effective, integrated reform plan to produce more transparency and accountability,” said Saul Sarabia, chair of the team, and an educator who has been working for 25 years to try to end structural racism and discrimination of all kinds by developing leaders, teaching, and engaging in collective action to change laws.
“It is critical to ensure that a culture of transparency and accountability is rooted at all levels of the Probation Department,” team member José Osuna said. “This community dialogue regarding the revision of the department’s mission and the restructuring of its operations will allow L.A. County taxpayers and residents, and people who have been on probation, such as me, to inform this major reform effort. As a member of the board’s original working group to reform the department in 2016, and current appointee to the PRIT, I will not rest until the community and the board’s vision for reform is realized.”
“Probation reform cannot wait, as demonstrated by increasing evidence of safety concerns in the County’s juvenile halls,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, principal author of the motion that created the team. “Fundamental to reform is the mission of the department, and how it structures its staffing, operations and service delivery to support that mission. These are the building blocks for creating a culture of care in our adult and youth justice systems. I applaud the PRIT for giving these topics the attention they deserve.”
For information, visit prit.lacounty.gov.
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