State Orders L.A. County to Close Juvenile Halls
Los Angeles County has 60 days to transfer some 280 youths out of the Barry J. Nidorf and Central juvenile halls following a decision by state regulators on Tuesday.
The Board of State and Community Corrections voted unanimously to force the facilities’ closure after finding that the county had done little to improve conditions.
The probation department has been given numerous chances to make changes at the two facilities, which are out of compliance with a number of state requirements and plagued by ongoing staffing shortages. The recent overdose death of a teen at Nidorf thrust the issue back into the spotlight.
The probation department pleaded with the state to allow an additional 150 days to transfer youth to the shuttered Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, saying the 60-day timeline would incur significant disruption. State regulators declined.
“Your concerns for the disruption of moving youth are outweighed by our concerns of the disruption they’re living in right now,” said board member Kelly Vernon, who serves as chief probation officer of Tulare County. “Every extension has already been made that possibly can.”
The last extension came just last month when the BSCC reluctantly delayed a shutdown and gave the county another chance to turn things around. The move angered youth advocates, who threatened legal action against the BSCC.
Regulators looked at what had been done since April to improve the situation. They found no measurable progress on staffing, teen programming, or other compliance measures. Fed up and facing a potential lawsuit, the BSCC finally dropped the hammer.
After Tuesday’s vote, just 83 youths housed Nidorf’s Secure Youth Track Facility will remain. These are youths that have committed more serious criminal offenses.