NEWS FROM DON KNABE
Supervisor, Fourth District
County of Los Angeles
822 Hahn Hall of Administration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: David A. Sommers
(213) 453-6446 (cell)
EDUCATION OVERHAUL APPROVED FOR COUNTY
JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM
LOS ANGELES, October 14, 2008 – Supervisor Don Knabe’s proposed overhaul of educational opportunities in Los Angeles County’s juvenile camps and halls was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors today. The reforms were proposed by Supervisor Knabe in June 2007 after a study revealed students were seriously underserved by the schools designed to teach children incarcerated in the Los Angeles County juvenile justice system.
Among the reforms will be the creation of charter schools in the probation system. The reforms will also customize educational opportunities based on the individual needs of the student, including a vocational education path, a college-bound path, and a GED completion path, among others. Additionally, the reforms will now tie education in the camps and halls with education in school districts across the County so that students leaving the juvenile justice system will have better continuity and consistency when they return to regular schools.
“The implications of today’s actions matter to every resident of our County because of the long-term goals of these reforms,” said Supervisor Knabe. “By improving access to educational opportunities in the juvenile justice system today these kids are less likely to commit future crimes tomorrow and end up in and out of our justice system throughout their life.”
According to the 2007 report by the Children’s Council of Los Angeles County, education is the area most in need of improvement in the juvenile justice system.
Among the report’s findings:
- In 2004, 74 percent of juvenile justice students did not pass the California High School Exit Examination.
- 20 percent of all Probation students require special education programs; double that of the general school population.
- School attendance records for Nidorf Juvenile Hall reveal that on one particular day in April 2007, 14% of students in the hall were not enrolled in the on-site school and only 78% of the enrolled students attended that day.
- Students in some high-risk units received little more than one hour of educational instruction a day.
“We have nearly 3,000 children enrolled in our probation schools and we have an obligation to provide each and everyone one of them with access to educational opportunities,” said Supervisor Knabe. “If we want to keep these kids from returning to the probation system or from ending up in County jails later in life, then access to quality schooling must be a critical component of how we are serving children in our camps and halls.”
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