The California experience: we know we cannot afford to become insular in our profession; there are best practices that exist in the smallest of our states. (Commentary).On May 1, 2000, I had the honor of being appointed by Go v. Gray Davis to oversee the operations of the California Youth Authority. In doing so, I joined the ranks of a very fine group of professional administrators, educators and treatment experts. However, unlike most of my colleagues, I did riot come from a background of treating juvenile offenders. I was a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department This article is about the Los Angeles County Sherriff's Department, not to be confused with the smaller Los Angeles County Police
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) is a local law enforcement agency that serves Los Angeles County, California. for more than 37 years, retiring as the undersheriff Un´der`sher`iff
n. 1. A sheriff's deputy. after having worked up the ranks from deputy. I did spend some time as a juvenile investigator, but most of my career has been in patrol, detective and custody work.
CYA CYA Cover your ass. See Defensive medicine. truly is a unique young offender A young offender is a person of either gender who has been convicted or cautioned for a criminal offence. Criminal justice systems often deal with young offenders differently from adult offenders, but different countries apply the term 'young offender' to different age groups organization. It has been the largest in the nation for some time, although the populations of wards and parolees have dropped dramatically during the past two years. In the 11 institutions and four fire camps, the population has decreased from more than 10,000 in 1996, to just below 5,900 today. The parole population declined from 6,200 to about 4,200 (luring that same time frame. The broad age range, from 12 to 25, sets us apart from most other similar young offender organizations. About 25 percent of our wards are younger than 18 and fewer than 300 and young women. Since 2000, juvenile offenders 16 or older in California convicted in an adult court must be sentenced to the adult system (California Department of Corrections) instead of CYA. We are a separate department under the umbrella of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, along with the DOC, Board of Corrections, Youthful Offender Parole Board pa`role´ board`
n. 1. A group of individuals with authority to determine whether a prisoner will be granted parole from a particular prison. and the Board of Prison Terms. Ninetysix percent of the wards come to us from juvenile courts juvenile court
Special court handling problems of delinquent, neglected, or abused children. Two types of cases are processed by a juvenile court: civil matters, often concerning care of an abandoned or impoverished child, and criminal matters, arising from antisocial and have indeterminate That which is uncertain or not particularly designated.
INDETERMINATE. That which is uncertain or not particularly designated; as, if I sell you one hundred bushels of wheat, without stating what wheat. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 950. adjudications ADJUDICATIONS, Scotch law. Certain proceedings against debtors, by way of actions, before the court of sessions and are of two kinds, special and general.
2.-1. By statute 1672, c. . The courts determine what we term "actual confinement time," but YOPB decides whether the ward can be paroled before his or her date of maximum confinement.
As I met with CYA staff, I was immediately impressed by their dedication to treating, training and educating the more than 7,600 wards committed to the department by the courts. But problems had come to the attention of the governor, the Legislature and the media, which had generated a great deal of negative criticism, characterizing how the mission of the department--to rehabilitate re·ha·bil·i·tate
1. To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education.
2. To restore to good condition, operation, or capacity. wayward way·ward
1. Given to or marked by willful, often perverse deviation from what is desired, expected, or required in order to gratify one's own impulses or inclinations. See Synonyms at unruly.
2. youths--had been mismanaged.
Almost immediately, as we set about to correct some of the deficiencies, CYA was served with a lawsuit--Morris v. Harper. The suit, brought by the California-based advocacy group Youth Law Center, focused on the issue of the absence of licensed acute and subacute subacute /sub·acute/ (-ah-kut´) somewhat acute; between acute and chronic.
Between acute and chronic. mental health and medical beds in our institutions. We have been making strides to satisfy the lawsuit by building or modifying structures to meet the strict design requirements of licensed medical facilities. However, the changes have not been made fast enough to satisfy plaintiffs. Like other public and private health care providers, we have been struggling with the nationwide crisis of hiring qualified medical and mental health personnel.
Earlier this year, we received notice that an inmate rights group, the Prison Law Office, was also suing us on nearly all aspects of confinement conditions. The lawsuit, Stevens v. Harper, addresses several issues including use of force and restraint, religious services access, classification, and mental health and medical care. The discovery process has placed considerable burdens on staff and will consume additional resources in the future.
Like many, if not nearly all of the states, California finds itself embroiled em·broil
tr.v. em·broiled, em·broil·ing, em·broils
1. To involve in argument, contention, or hostile actions: "Avoid . . . in a well-publicized budget problem--the state's deficit is in excess of $23 billion. As of July, the Legislature had not yet agreed on a final budget plan to send to the governor. Certainly, this situation complicates matters for us as we continue to improve our delivery of services to wards and parolees throughout this vast state.
Adding to our challenges is the fact that 75 percent to 80 percent of the young men and women arrive for treatment with gang affiliations. This creates significant obstacles to overcome while our wards are in the institutions and camps, and when they return to the same communities of commitment. Many CYA wards, like young offenders nationwide, have treatment needs for mental health, substance abuse and sexual misconduct sexual misconduct Professional ethics Any behavior that violates a health professional's ethics through sexual contact of physician and his/her Pt. See Professional boundaries. . But the gang culture they bring with them often forces successful treatment to compete with concerns for individual and collective ward and staff safety.
Although we may be different in many ways, the issues that define juvenile justice agencies across the 50 states are frequently very similar. Consequently, we began visiting other states in the early months of 2001. CYA staff were able to see the various approaches being employed across the country. We know we cannot afford to become insular insular /in·su·lar/ (-sdbobr-ler) pertaining to the insula or to an island, as the islands of Langerhans.
Of or being an isolated tissue or island of tissue. in our profession; there are best practices that exist in the smallest of our states. Clearly, size has not been a determiner of success as we look across the nation at the states that have been sued or are in the process of being sued, to correct alleged deficiencies.
I have recently served as chairman of the Best Practices Committee for the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators and enjoyed renewing professional associations with my national counterparts this past August at the 132nd Congress of Correction in Anaheim, Calif. More important, I encouraged staff to use the conference to trade information and make professional contacts that will continue the momentum of constantly improving our services to wards and parolees.
I believe that one of the biggest challenges that faces us all is our inability to publicize pub·li·cize
tr.v. pub·li·cized, pub·li·ciz·ing, pub·li·ciz·es
To give publicity to.
publicize or -cise
[-cizing, -cized] our many success stories. Examples already abound that characterize the fruits of labor of our dedicated and untiring correctional counselors, teachers, security staff and all the others who contribute so much. Every day, their efforts are helping to realize our goal of returning the young people in our care to their communities with the best possible chance for becoming productive, law-abiding citizens. I hope all of us will continue to learn from one another - not just how best to treat our youths, but just as important, how to get the story out about our successes.