Chief Probation Officers of California Call for an Immediate Limited Court Receivership for Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Facilities
Limited court receivership will take politics out of the swift action needed to address the systemic cultural challenges that have resulted in a crisis at the County’s juvenile facilities


Sacramento, California – The Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) have made an unprecedented call to action today asking state and county leaders to pursue a narrowly tailored court receivership over the County’s juvenile facilities. Such a receivership will focus on the most immediate issues impacting safety of the youth in the facility and to break through barriers that have existed historically, and uniquely, in Los Angeles County. A receivership can move above normal process, bureaucracy or political impediments which have overwhelmed the system for years.

“Los Angeles is facing an extraordinary, urgent crisis that needs swift action and extraordinary change which is difficult to do without a solution that can remove the conflicting politics of various stakeholders and severe labor shortages. This is why the CPOC Board of Directors has decided to recommend a narrowly tailored court receivership as the best immediate solution,” said Karen Pank, executive director for CPOC. “The serious issues facing LA did not happen overnight. It has built up over time with a series of overreaction or under-reaction of multiple smaller issues overlaid by decisions that did not consider the careful balance necessary to be successful. The unintended consequences have left a system of officers and staff who dedicated themselves to a mission to best serve youth under their supervision to something they no longer recognize.”

“We believe without receivership, the current available avenues for the County to implement change are limited with many bureaucratic constraints and does not have the authority a court receivership would have to address the crisis with clear, concise and immediate actions. Such an action would not take away from the sincere efforts by the Board of Supervisors, the interim Chief, as well as the staff and officers who are showing up every day in this difficult environment. For effective change to happen quickly, we believe the receivership is the only way to help achieve this solution.”

A narrowly tailored court receivership would be able to swiftly address the frustrations and serious issues that the County Board of Supervisors have consistently brought up. It would focus on ensuring youth and staff are safe in the juvenile facilities and that programming, school, and other supports for youth are available to support them towards a healthy and stable life. Further, it could help address the findings from the state’s Board of State and Community Corrections about the Los Angeles County Central Juvenile Hall as “unsuitable for the confinement of youth.” This was the first time the state board ever concluded that a county facility was unfit to operate. The report detailed some very disturbing information about lack of training as well as unruly and unsafe environments for youth and staff which is not consistent with any other county in the state.

“The County juvenile facilities have become unrecognizable in comparison to facilities across the state due to the deep systemic challenges and the differences in policy and operations only found in Los Angeles County,” continued Pank. “Probation across the state has been the reliable and proven integral connector that balances between the courts, county resources and community. We have consistently embraced new challenges such as the DJJ realignment of the highest needs youth in the state. We focus on an individual approach that identifies the supports each youth needs and prioritize placing youth in the community whenever it is possible and safe to do so.”

CPOC stands ready to support any state legislative effort, county action or action by Governor Newsom that calls for a limited court receivership for Los Angeles County juvenile facilities. The time is urgent as the transfer of additional DJJ youth and young adults to Los Angeles County will be complete by July 2023.

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