Chief Probation Officers of California Release Media Statement in Response to Governor Newsom’s COVID-19 Announcement to Suspend Intake at CDCR and DJJ Facilities


Sacramento, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 – Today in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order to temporarily suspend intake at state prison facilities and the Division of Juvenile Justice, Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) President Brian Richart issued the following statement:

“During these unprecedented times, we know there are only difficult choices as Governor Newsom, state and local leaders tirelessly work to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor has stated and we agree that we do not want to create another crisis with the response to this crisis. Probation has been closely working with the state, our local leaders and public safety partners to identify safe, practical means to relieve system pressures without unduly risking public safety and the stability of those in our system. Today’s latest executive order to close down the intake at our state prisons and the Division of Juvenile justice will impact our local systems. With this possibility of additional adult and youth who may need community supervision, Probation’s priority remains focused on our public safety mission while following the best available evidence-based approaches for the health and safety of the adults and youth who are in our care and under our supervision.

An immediate result of today’s executive order is the need to prioritize high-risk and high-need youth who require a secure, safe environment. One of our many responsibilities during this crisis is to protect the health and safety of all youth who come under our supervision. We have been taking multiple actions to keep youth, officers, and communities as safe as possible and utilizing the best available health and safety protocols for the youth in our care.”

This past weekend CPOC issued information about the different actions being taken by county probation departments that are aligned with the evolving recommendations of their county health officials and state guidelines. Below are some examples of recent actions taken by various county probation departments to protect youth during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Limited intake to the most serious offenses when appropriate and safe.
  • Instituted strict health protocols for officers and other staff including taking temperatures and sending home any staff member who is displaying any signs of illness.
  • Reviewed cases of youth in facilities and conducted early releases of youth to their families when there is a safe and stable environment to which they can be returned.
  • Made the difficult decision to temporarily alter visitation and outside program providers for the health protection of youth. The departments are instead using technology platforms to ensure youth still have social connections with family and friends and maintain professional connections to their physical and behavioral health providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Established plans to address any need for 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.

CPOC and the 59 probation chiefs continue to monitor this changing situation and are preparing contingency plans for even greater challenges than currently exist. Probation will continue to make decisions based on best-practices in health and safety standards for the youth and adults under our care, all of our staff, and the community.

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