Los Angeles County has been directed by a state regulatory board to move pre-disposition youth out of the Barry J. Nidorf and Central juvenile halls within 60 days. The Board of State and Community Corrections made this declaration, citing persistent shortcomings and non-compliance with state standards found during recent inspections. The board expressed dissatisfaction with the county’s proposed overhaul plans, considering them inadequate and delayed.
County representatives sought a 150-day delay, stating that efforts were underway to relocate detainees to the previously closed Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. However, the board rejected the request, emphasizing the need to address the issue promptly. Approximately 275 pre-disposition youth, whose criminal cases are unresolved, are currently housed in Nidorf and Central halls.
It is important to note that the relocation order does not affect post-disposition youth housed in a Secure Youth Treatment Facility within Nidorf hall. Central Juvenile Hall is located in Lincoln Heights.
During a presentation, county representatives outlined their ambitious plans to transfer youth out of the two facilities. Acknowledging past failures, Margarita Perez, a former assistant chief probation officer, requested an additional 150 days for a smoother transition. However, the board remained unconvinced, highlighting their lack of confidence in previous promises made by Los Angeles County.
Following the board’s decision, Interim L.A. County Chief Probation Officer Guillermo Viera Rosa expressed disappointment with the imposed 60-day timeline but agreed that discontinuing the use of these facilities for housing pre-disposition youth was necessary. Rosa assured that the county was already implementing a plan to transfer the youth, staff, programs, and services to Los Padrinos by the deadline.
The Board of State and Community Corrections had previously deemed both juvenile halls unsuitable in 2021, but they managed to remain operational. However, due to renewed inspection failures, the board initiated the process once again to declare them unsuitable.
Hans Liang, president of the L.A. County Deputy Probation Officers Union, attributed staffing shortages and inadequate resources to the county and the Board of Supervisors. He highlighted the challenges faced by officers in the juvenile division, including assaults and staff injuries, which have reached a breaking point.
The county Board of Supervisors has been grappling with a comprehensive overhaul of the troubled juvenile justice system, especially with the transfer of youth from the state’s closing Juvenile Justice facilities. Recent measures, including the approval of a “Global Plan” for placement and care of juvenile detainees, aim to reduce the number of juveniles in custody and establish more supportive Secure Youth Treatment Facilities.
On May 2, the board endorsed immediate steps outlined by county CEO Fesia Davenport, signifying the county’s ongoing commitment to address the complex issues surrounding the juvenile justice system.