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