The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has ordered a thorough vetting of the troubled Probation Department, including written reviews of the agency’s $700-million budget, internal affairs investigations, and schools, the Los Angeles Times reports. “The department has very serious, chronic problems in virtually every aspect of its operations,” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. “We’re going to have to demonstrate to the Department of Justice and everyone else who is watching that we’re going to get this department back on track.”
Supervisor Gloria Molina said she was particularly concerned about finances, given recent reports that the department is over budget. The Los Angeles County Office of Education, which runs schools at the department’s 20 juvenile camps and halls, must report in two weeks how the agency screens and hires teachers, including a former teacher who was charged last week with child endangerment for organizing boxing-style fights between probationers during class.
This month, probation officials admitted that at least 170 probation employees have committed misconduct — including cases of excessive force and abuse — but that they have so far escaped punishment because there isn’t enough staff to discipline them. Most are sworn officers who remain on the job, and about half face allegations of abuse of juvenile probationers.