Letters to the Editor: More probation workers won't fix L.A. County juvenile halls




  • In US
  • 2022-12-05 11:00:25Z
  • By Los Angeles Times Opinion
L.A. County
L.A. County's Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles on Nov. 14. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)  

To the editor: I share the concerns documented by Times reporter James Queally about the conditions in L.A. County's juvenile halls, including repeated lockdowns.

However, this "chaos" is not due to the staffing crisis in the Probation Department or the increasingly "violent" nature of these young people. This is systemic, indicating that youth incarceration is a costly endeavor that does not rehabilitate youth or keep the community safer.

For decades, detained young people in L.A. County have experienced a disregard of their basic human dignity and a deprivation of consistent access to education, programming, loved ones and their lawyers. These conditions are well documented by a continuous cycle of lawsuits, settlements and investigations.

Lifting the Probation Department hiring freeze cannot solve the problem. Why has L.A. County stopped asking how we can reimagine youth justice? Why is it instead trying to further increase the budget of a carceral institution that has repeatedly failed to produce results for our most vulnerable young people?

Megan Stanton-Trehan, Los Angeles

The writer directs the Youth Justice Education Clinic and is an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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