LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn on addressing the incarcerated youth population, specifically girls and young women, in the Los Angeles County camps and halls.

In recent years, the incarcerated youth population has decreased in Los Angeles County to unprecedented low numbers, dipping even lower due to the COVID-19 pandemic to less than 10% of what the population was just ten years ago. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the number of juvenile arrests continues to drop significantly and arrests for violent crime offenses were cut in half between 2006 and 2019. As of November 22, 2021, in the County’s camps and halls, we have a total of 346 incarcerated youth, of which 35 are female youth — 24 in the halls and 11 in the camps. Many of the girls and young women have polytraumas, are victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, and trafficking.

“On a national scale, young women and girls are disproportionately affected by domestic violence. And as we see on the adult side of incarceration, the setting and environment of camps and halls are not conducive to healing and thriving,” shared Chair Solis. “By decarcerating this population, in a safe, evidence-based, and trauma-informed manner, it will not only keep public safety at the forefront but also the needs and well-being of the affected youth and their families. This motion is an additional effort to ensure that our Board’s priority and approach to “care first, jail last” is also inclusive of the incarcerated youth in our County.”

“We don’t want young people to end up in our criminal justice system and we have been able to dramatically reduce the number of youth who are incarcerated in LA County,” shared Supervisor Hahn. “In fact, there are just 35 girls in our care at our juvenile camps and halls. We now have the opportunity to focus our efforts on getting these girls and young women the support they need as they leave our care so their fresh starts are successful.”

The motion approved today directs the Youth Justice Advisory Group’s Youth Development Network, Secure County Facilities Workgroups (Advisory Group), and other relevant workgroups, in collaboration with applicable County departments and community stakeholders, to provide an initial report in 90 days with recommendations for and include in the Advisory Group’s quarterly reports to the Board, a specific implementation plan focusing on the decarceration of girls and young women in probation camps and halls. The motion also directs the Public Defender to create and develop a Transition Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) within 45 days, and instruct members from the County’s Office of Diversion and Re-Entry’s Youth Diversion and Development (YDD) Division, Probation Department, Probation Placement Unit, Alternate Public Defender, District Attorney, Department of Mental Health, Department of Public Health, Office of Education, and the Independent Juvenile Defender’s Office to establish procedures and protocol to provide all detained girls and young women an MDT evaluation in preparation for the court’s review to determine release, including types of wraparound services the youth will be provided and other necessities.

Additionally, the motion grants delegated authority to the County’s Department of Health Services to amend YDD’s existing diversion contracts to expand referral sources for diversion consistent with recommendations made in prior reports, in
consultation with County Counsel, as well as direct the CEO, in collaboration with YDD, to provide a report-back to the Board in 60 days on the dedicated funding YDD will need to implement strategies to reduce the population of incarcerated girls and young women, including a plan for hiring additional YDD staff and funding needed for community-based organizations, to ensure appropriate implementation. Lastly, the motion directs YDD and the County’s Probation Department, in collaboration with the County’s Chief Information Officer, to provide meaningful and consistent data and data reports to the Youth Justice Transition Advisory Group and the County’s Probation Oversight Commission to be incorporated in quarterly updates and posted on the Open Data Portal.

To view the full motion, click here.