The head of the California correctional officers union endorsed the more therapeutic approach planned for the state’s youth prison system but doubts it will become a reality, the Los Angeles Times reports. Mike Jimenez of he California Correctional Peace Officers Association, said the Arnold Schwarzenegger administration’s model for reform of the juvenile prisons was “a good target” and would make life safer for the 2,800 officers and counselors who are union members. Jimenez questioned whether the approach would be well-suited to California’s juvenile offender population, which he called older and more violent.
In place of the current focus on punishment would be intensive counseling and peer group reinforcement to prepare inmates for life outside. Yesterday’s blueprint will be followed by a more detailed plan in November. State Sen. Gloria Romero, who once threatened to push for closure of the California Youth Authority, was optimistic, concluding that the agency “is itself going to be rehabilitated.”