Violence in juvenile halls soars

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Graham said the Sylmar facility had the most violence. In the first half of this year, there were 482 incidents of youths attacking each other at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, up from 439 in the same period last year, he reported. During the same period, there were 434 incidents at Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, up from 299, and 441 at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, up from 290. The probation officers are using new training in dialogue and crisis de-escalation techniques and limiting the use of pepper spray and physical restraints, but inadequate staffing hampers the success of these tactics, Graham wrote. In one-third to one-half of instances in which the staff uses force, the staff is intervening in the growing youth-on-youth violence, according to the report. Use of force by staff increased from 1,535 to 1,727 instances. “When (kids) know that intervention is not going to be swift and immediate, then that just rings the dinner bell for them to go ahead and attack each other,” said Ralph Miller, president of the 4,000-member probation officers union. Last month, hundreds of probation officers called in sick and staged a rally outside the county Hall of Administration downtown, urging the Board of Supervisors to approve a new contract that would allow the department to hire hundreds of new probation officers, as well as offer higher wages and benefits. The actions come more than four years after the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into abuses at the halls, finding that staff used pepper spray excessively, hogtied children and failed to meet the youths’ mental health needs. The Probation Department is making progress and has fulfilled 10 of 52 federal recommendations agreed to in a settlement last year, according to Ron Barrett, the department’s project coordinator for the settlement. He said new training for staffers ended in July, and that probation officers have now been trained in new techniques to deal with kids in crisis. He said he expects violence to begin decreasing soon. Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! As Los Angeles County’s three juvenile halls have become increasingly understaffed in recent years, violence has increased dramatically, particularly at the Sylmar facility, according to a federal monitor’s report released Thursday. In his semiannual report, U.S. Department of Justice monitor Michael Graham said there has been a “disturbing upward trend of fights and assaults” among youths at the three halls. Violent incidents increased 12 percent from 2,094 in 2003 to 2,352 last year, he said. In the first half of this year, 1,357 incidents were reported – with a projection of 2,700 by the end of the year. “Inadequate staffing is, perhaps, the single greatest impediment to providing effective rehabilitation programming, ensuring the safety of suicidal minors, reducing youth-on-youth violence and reducing the number of incidents involving the use of force at the three juvenile halls,” Graham wrote. last_img read more

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