The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) has officially deemed two Los Angeles County juvenile halls “unsuitable for housing youth” and has instructed the Los Angeles County Probation Department to locate alternate housing for the almost 300 youth currently housed there.
For years now, the BSCC has allotted many opportunities to the LAC Probation Department – to take accountability, to make the necessary changes, and to prove capable of keeping our youth safe. The halls have long perpetuated unsafe living conditions and now a young person has died (read about this in our previous newsletter).
While this shut-down is good news, it is not the end of the fight-- kids are still being locked in conditions where they are not kept safe from unreliable access to toilets, excessive force, drug exposure, sexual abuse, pepper spray and other harms. Tauheedah Shakur from the Youth Justice Coalition puts these conditions into perspective, “If a parent lock
ed their kid in a room and made them urinate on themselves the kids would be taken out of the house.” Why does this standard not apply to these facilities? In order to ensure the safety and success of our youth, our approach towards youth in conflict must transition away from the punitive juvenile justice system and towards a restorative justice system. Things to consider:
Juvenile Justice System
Restorative Justice Alternatives
Detention facilities have proven unsuitable and unsafe
Community-based orgs. work to keep kids with their families and in school
Can cause trauma
Provides trauma-informed mediators and counselors
Can address conflict on the spot and has higher rates of satisfaction
Criminalizes youth of color, most disproportionately Black youth, at a much higher rate
Focused support and services for youth who are criminalized at the greatest disparity
https://www.bscc.ca.gov/s_cppebpresultsineffective/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N3LihLvfa0 https://data.lacity.org/Public-Safety/Arrest-Data-from-2010-to-2019/yru6-6re4
We know restorative justice works and that our youth deserve it. We will continue to work within our schools, with law enforcement, and our community to reduce arrest rates and keep our kids out of juvenile justice system. Learn more about the benefits of restorative justice and how it can keep our kids safe by registering for our upcoming webinar, "Safer Communities Through Restorative Justice". Registration here: https://tinyurl.com/54ze7hrk