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Supervisor Ridley-Thomas Interviewed About Probation Department

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas was interviewed about the troubled Probation Department by Witness LA:

WitnessLA: Mr. Supervisor, last week you called for federal oversight for the LA County Probation Department in the form of a federal consent decree—much like the federal consent decree that the LAPD had to agree to in order to avoid a Department of Justice lawsuit after the Rampart scandal.

However, none of your fellow supervisors seem to favor such federal involvement. Why is there such a schism between the supervisors?

Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas: At least one supervisor has articulated the point of view that we have a new chief probation officer, and so we should permit him a chance to succeed rather than declaring him a failure. I think that’s a mischaracterization of the call for broadened, deepened and quickened reform.

These problems are not of [Chief Blevins’] making. We’re not declaring him a failure.

But if we want to get this right, I think it has to be understood that it’s not about the new probation chief at all. This is about the mission of that department. The focus of the probation department is supposed to be rehabilitation of the children we serve. But there is so much dysfunction in the Department of Probation that rehabilitation is hard to realize.

Read the entire interview

UPDATE: Also see “The LA Times, Probation and Inadequate ‘Second Chances'” at Witness LA.

Supervisor Calls for U.S. Department of Justice Intervention to Help Turn Around the Deeply Troubled Los Angeles County Department of Probation

The Supervisor stated his position on the Huffington Post and on KPCC’s “Air Talk“. Also see the LA Weekly for more information on the issue.

“We need the authority and resources of the federal government.

The County has been trying for years to right this troubled department. The problems at Probation are too great to drop at the feet of a new manager alone. The Board of Supervisors has attempted to fix the department over the years through various motions. We’ve tried to repair the department from within, and we now know the results.

Enough time has passed, without enough progress, that it’s time to give the Department’s leaders new, more powerful tools to do their job. For too long, the Department has been unable to stop lawless behavior.

We’ve now seen enough to be sure of this: we can’t wait for the Probation Department to fix itself. The County must now seek a broader Justice Department probe of its entire operation. Justice has this authority.

The problems at Probation are spread far beyond the confines of remote youth camps. County audits and the Department’s own investigations have found evidence of wrongdoing by managers and probation officers throughout the Department.

The process of reform must be broadened and deepened. It must engage parents, educators, and others in neighborhoods throughout the County, especially those communities with a high proportion of youths in the probation system.”

VIDEO: Supervisor Honors Community Partners For Their Roles In Successful Day Reporting Center Program For Probation Youth

Lauding the Day Reporting Center (DRC) as one of the most successful re-entry programs for youth in the L.A. County Probation system, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas today recognized community partners of the pilot project launched in November 2008.

The Supervisor acknowledged the support of the Century Community Training Program (CCTP), a Lennox-based nonprofit organization that offers a free eight-week pre-apprenticeship construction training and employment services program for those transitioning from unemployment, welfare, low-income jobs, or incarceration; Playa Vista Jobs (PV JOBS), a non-profit organization providing job placement opportunities for disadvantaged youth and adults; and the Quantum Corporation, a nonprofit community and economic development organization that works with multicultural residents and businesses throughout the County.

“Today I have the honor of presenting commendations to these three companies, which have been working closing with the Probation Department in implementing the Day Reporting Center, one of its most successful re-entry programs for the County,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

More

Photo Slideshow:

VIDEO: Highlights From An Evening With Acting Probation Chief Cal Remington

Last week Supervisor Ridley-Thomas led a Town Hall meeting at his Exposition Park office with Acting Chief of Probation Cal Remington. More than 150 people turned out for a spirited two-hour question and answer session with the Probation leader. The video above contains a few highlights from the evening.

More at the L.A. Times

Wednesday: An Evening with Cal Remington – Acting Chief of Probation

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD

An evening with Cal Remington
Acting Chief of Probation

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
And The Empowerment Congress
Invite you to an evening with Cal Remington

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Exposition Park
Administrative Offices East
700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

To confirm your attendance, please call:

(323) 586-6523 or email mguevara@bos.lacounty.gov