Chief Probation Officers Announce Support for the Launch of BSCC’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard
Juvenile Probation Cases Remain Low
Sacramento, CA, July 16, 2020 – The Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) announced today their partnership with the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) and support for a new database being launched by the BSCC that will track reported COVID-19 cases of youth supervised and cared for in juvenile detention facilities. Thus far, COVID-19 cases in youth in secure county facilities remains low in part due to probation’s strong record with strict health and safety protocols that has caught most of the cases of COVID-19 within the first 14 days of intake as well as quick quarantining of any youth and staff who were in contact with an individual who tested positive.
Also helping to keep cases low is the historic low population of youth in juvenile facilities. Since 2007, Probation has safely and successfully reduced juvenile detention rates by over 60% and safely treat 90% of youth in the juvenile justice system within the community. Because of this, juvenile facilities have adequate space for youth to practice social distancing and have access to distance learning, video conferencing and/or in-person visitation with family and for court proceedings following CDC guidelines when necessary for any in-person activities.
“We believe in transparency and the importance of data which is why CPOC strongly supports this data collection and will gladly partner with BSCC to ensure accurate data is reported and published. This will inform us as to how best continue to keep youth and staff healthy and safe, said Karen Pank, CPOC Executive Director. “Probation has operated with strict health protocols developed in partnership with health officials, for youth and staff since the pandemic began which is in large part why cases have remained low.”
Beginning July 20, 2020, BSCC will be collecting facility-level COVID-19 data from Probation Chiefs and Sheriffs. The data request will include the number of new positive COVID-19 tests for both residents and staff (reported separately), and deaths at each facility each week. It will also include a one-time request for facilities’ cumulative COVID-19 case information and deaths to date.
Below are some examples of actions taken by various county probation departments to protect juveniles during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Limited intake to the most serious offenses when appropriate and safe.
- Instituted strict health protocols for officers including taking temperatures and sending home any officer who is displaying any signs of illness or reporting potential exposure.
- Reviewed cases of juveniles in facilities and released juveniles to their families when there is a safe and stable environment for them to return to and it is permissible in coordination with the courts, district attorneys and public defenders.
- Made the difficult decision to temporarily alter visitation for the health protection of juveniles. The departments are instead using technology platforms to ensure juveniles still have social connections with family and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Established plans to address any need for a youth to be quarantined for COVID-19 symptoms and instituted social distancing protocols.
- Identified various distance learning and support services to best serve youth during this time.
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