LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath affirming its ban of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray, commonly known as “pepper spray,” and phasing it out at Central Juvenile Hall.

In February 2019, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion to discontinue the use of OC spray in the County’s juvenile detention facilities. However, a November 2022 report by the Probation Oversight Commission (POC) on the use of OC spray depicted that the use of OC spray significantly increased between the months of June and September 2022, specifically at Central Juvenile Hall.

“Four years is too long—these are vulnerable youth who should be on a path to healing, but instead are further traumatized by these actions,” said Supervisor Solis. “It is inhumane that youth with developmental disabilities, girls, and gender-expansive adolescents are being met with OC spray. This must end, and it must end now.”

“The use of pepper spray on juveniles is needlessly punitive and must be eliminated in LA County juvenile halls, just as we have in our camps. In the County’s two juvenile halls, where young people are detained awaiting trial, its use continues, and it must stop,” Supervisor Horvath said. “This motion underscores the importance of ending the use of pepper spray in our juvenile halls quickly, and authorizes contracting with an exemplary alternative, non-punitive program to help the Probation Department make this change without putting staff and youth in harm’s way.”

The motion approved today directs the Probation Department to create an implementation plan, with oversight of the Probation Oversight Commission and the Office of Inspector General, to stop the use of OC spray within 45 days, at housing units that house youth with developmental disabilities, as well as girls and gender expansive youth at Central Juvenile Hall. Additionally, the Board approved the CEO’s evaluation of the Probation Department’s expenditures of OC spray and direct that the CEO reduce funding according to the Board-approved phase out of such use.

The motion also authorizes the Department of Youth Development to expand the launch of the Credible Messenger Program Pilot into the two juvenile halls. This program, leveraging $2 million, will bring in mentors with lived experience to engage with the youth and provide additional support to bring about more humane and trauma-informed environment to the juvenile halls.

Furthermore, the motion requires the Probation Department to provide detailed weekly reports of OC spray deployment with specific data on the youth involved, as well as providing reports of OC elimination staff roll-out trainings.

To read the full motion, click here.

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