Los Angeles County is moving toward major reforms in its social and criminal justice programs and structure.
The Board of Supervisors voted to create a centralized home for various programs created in the last few years to support its Care First, Jails Last initiative. It will be called the Justice, Care and Opportunities Department, the Bay City News Service reported as published in the L.A. Times on March 1.
The plan includes closing the men’s Main Jail, implementing an Office of Adult Programs, centralizing all prevention, and youth services, said the report.
“But if we stop for a moment of critical reflection, we have to really acknowledge that process is not the same as progress, and what we need now is progress,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
The county staff has three months to prepare staffing plans and information about a centralized department, location, cost, and a timeline, for implementation, noted the story.
In Kuehl’s motion to the board, she welcomed the progress that has already been made in the last eight years, but more steps are needed, she said.
The supervisors asked for a different report concerning the July introduction of the Department of Youth Development, on how it will work together with the adult programs already in progress, according to the story.
“This is the big picture, but I hope we all are committed as well to making sure we have the right department head for this department, and the right county employees to staff this department,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger opposed Kuehl’s motion, with concerns about the structure of the new agency, even though other board members supported it, reported the article.
Kuehl’s motion says: “This board should establish an umbrella entity that braids together Care First, Jails Last service delivery and advisory bodies into a cohesive team that is supported by a common mission and an administrative support structure that facilitates person and equity-centric service delivery.”