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Los Angeles County Probation Department

December 15, 2011 | By Jason Song, Los Angeles Times
Despite making "great strides" to improve parts of its juvenile justice system, the Los Angeles County Probation Department has failed to achieve almost a quarter of the 41 youth camp reforms ordered in 2008 by federal officials, according to a draft report obtained by The Times. The department oversees 14 camps designed to house and rehabilitate about 2,200 of the area's most troubled youths and has been under U.S. Department of Justice oversight for nearly 10 years. As part of an agreement reached three years ago, the department was threatened with a federal takeover unless it did more to prevent youth suicides, stop employees from harming juvenile delinquents and reduce use-of-force incidents.
April 7, 1990
The Los Angeles County Probation Department will open the largest juvenile detention facility in the county next Tuesday, a 660-bed complex in Lancaster named for the destroyed Challenger space shuttle. The 42-acre, $35-million Challenger Memorial Youth Center includes six camps named after each of the astronauts who died in the 1986 crash. The camp school will be named for Sharon Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who died with the astronauts.
October 1, 2011 | Jason Song and Shane Goldmacher
Local officials across California are bracing to manage more parolees and nonviolent felons as a new law goes into effect Saturday requiring them to take on what had long been a state responsibility. The change is a result of budget pressures and a U.S. Supreme Court decision that required the state to lower its prison population by 30,000 inmates due to overcrowding. Under the new law, prisoners who commit nonviolent and non-sex-related crimes, such as low-level drug offenders or thieves, will be kept in county jails instead of going to state facilities.
January 27, 1985
A supervisor at a Los Angeles County boys' camp in Malibu has been arrested on suspicion of molesting a young girl at his apartment in Rancho Cucamonga over a three-year period, authorities said. Dezon McKinney, 36, was booked for investigation of child molestation at the San Bernardino County Jail and later released on $10,000 bail, San Bernardino County sheriff's spokesman Jim Bryant said. McKinney was arrested at the Camp Kilpatrick boys' ranch, 427 S. Encinal Canyon Rd.
December 16, 1999
A federal judge has given preliminary approval to a massive $2-million settlement of a long-running class action civil rights lawsuit over the management of Los Angeles County's probation department. The 5-year-old lawsuit alleged that the department shortchanged the inner city in its allocation of resources and passed over blacks for promotions.
September 15, 1988
Among the painful budget decisions facing the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is the future of the Dorothy Kirby Center, the county's only locked treatment facility for emotionally disturbed teen-agers who have committed crimes. It now serves 100 teen-agers--including troubled runaways, first-time murderers, arsonists, sex offenders, drug abusers, burglars and prostitutes. Most are gang members, a group with which the center has been particularly effective.
Deputies were searching Wednesday for a gang member accused of attempted murder who was erroneously released from a juvenile jail, authorities said. They were looking for Eduardo Nunez, 18, of Palmdale, who was released by mistake by the Los Angeles County Probation Department, said Lt. Daniel Castillo of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The probation department reported the accidental release to the Antelope Valley Sheriff's Station on Wednesday afternoon. Just before 6 p.m.
March 17, 2010 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Richard Winton
A former teacher at a Los Angeles County probation camp was arrested Tuesday on six counts of child endangerment for allegedly organizing boxing-style bouts -- recorded by a security camera -- between students during class, authorities said. Stephen Wesley, 43, was arrested by Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators as he left a home in the 7000 block of Faust Avenue in Canoga Park about 7 a.m., according to Steve Whitmore, a sheriff's spokesman. He is being held in lieu of $600,000 bail, according to County Jail records.
March 17, 2010 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Expressing deep concern over allegations that a teacher arranged fights between students in a classroom at a Los Angeles County juvenile probation camp, Supervisor Mike Antonovich said Wednesday that he wants the education agency responsible for hiring and supervising the teacher held accountable. Antonovich said he planned to submit a motion at next week's board meeting demanding that Los Angeles County Office of Education Supt. Darline Robles report back April 6 with details on the hiring and screening of Stephen Wesley, 43. Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators arrested Wesley on Tuesday for allegedly allowing and refereeing five boxing-style bouts -- recorded by a security camera -- during his class at Camp Karl Holton in San Fernando on Aug. 8, 2008.
February 25, 2010 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
The Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families is calling for an audit of the county's probation ombudsman and the grievance process for youths in detention halls and camps. The commission's leader, Patricia Curry, sent a letter to supervisors Tuesday requesting an independent review of the ombudsman's procedures, reports and phone service to ensure that complaints of mistreatment are investigated. The request follows a Times story about probation officers who were convicted of crimes or disciplined for inappropriate conduct involving current or former probationers, including several cases of officers molesting or beating youths in their care.
January 25, 2010 | By Garrett Therolf
Donald H. Blevins, probation chief in Alameda County, has emerged as the leading candidate to head Los Angeles County's beleaguered Probation Department, according to two people familiar with the selection process. Sources said late last week that William T Fujioka, the county's chief executive, was recommending Blevins and had ruled out the other finalists: Jerry Powers, chief of probation in Stanislaus County, and Bernard Warner, leader of the Juvenile Justice Division of the California Department of Corrections.
November 26, 2009 | By Garrett Therolf
L.A. County officials, who have struggled in recent months to fill top executive jobs, face a test in coming weeks as they try to find a new leader for the troubled Probation Department. Head hunters recently reported that the county's troubled agencies were not attractive to many prospective candidates, according to officials familiar with the reports. Indeed, fruitless searches have left key departments throughout the county operating without permanent leadership. Recent state budget problems compounded the issue by raising the likelihood that any newcomers will be forced to manage dramatic curtailments.
February 27, 2009 | Molly Hennessy-Fiske
The Los Angeles County Probation Department suspended billing for more than 100,000 former probationers Thursday -- the day before the county had planned to start intercepting their tax returns -- after the public defender challenged the legality of many of the bills. The suspension marked the second time in a month that the department backed down, at least temporarily, from its aggressive pursuit of debts.
September 14, 1998
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said Sunday that a 9-year-old boy stabbed and killed his 11-year-old brother while they were roughhousing in their Bellflower home Saturday afternoon. Investigators initially thought that the boy died after falling accidentally on the knife. But after interviewing the 9-year-old and another 11-year-old boy present during the incident, they determined that the victim was intentionally stabbed.
Prosecutors filed murder charges Friday against boys, ages 16 and 17, who allegedly admitted beating 12-year-old Rodney Haynes to death just days after he'd moved into a group home for troubled teens in Calabasas. The starkly cruel killing, which authorities said involved blows with a stick and large rock, raised questions about whether the Los Angeles County Probation Department's placement of Haynes with the older offenders was appropriate.
December 18, 2008 | Ben Bolch
Raul Lara, your Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits just won the Southern Section Pac-5 Division title. What are you going to do now? He's going to Central Juvenile Hall, actually. That's where the coach of the most storied high school football program in Southern California headed late Saturday night, arriving about two hours after the Jackrabbits polished off a come-from-behind 20-17 victory over Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro. He was just doing his job -- both of them.
May 26, 2006 | Noam N. Levey, Times Staff Writer
Carrying a message his bosses may not be eager to hear, Los Angeles County's new probation chief has begun a politically delicate campaign for hundreds of millions of dollars to resuscitate the county's troubled juvenile detention system. Robert Taylor, who took over the Probation Department last month, has told the five-member Board of Supervisors he needs more than $115 million to boost security at the violence-plagued juvenile halls and camps. An additional $22.
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