In December 2010, Public Counsel and its partners reached a settlement agreement in the case of I.T. v. Los Angeles County with Los Angeles County to reform conditions for youth with developmental disabilities in the juvenile halls, in group homes, and in the family homes under Probation’s supervision. The agreement called for Public Counsel and Disability Rights California to monitor implementation of reform efforts for three years following the development of policies and procedures, and training to Probation staff on those policies and procedures. Monitoring activities began in November 2011 and continued through July 2015.
The overall goals of the settlement agreement are to ensure that youth with developmental disabilities in the juvenile halls will be immediately and effectively identified; will not be detained longer than others because of the lack of available, appropriate community placements; and will be provided with appropriate services and effective supports to successfully transition back to the community and avoid recidivism and violence.
At the beginning of the settlement agreement, Public Counsel and Disability Rights California monitored its implementation by visiting the halls and community placements, observations, interviews with key staff, and reviewing data and documents provided by Probation. Public Counsel eventually received funding from the Keck Foundation to conduct a more formal assessment of the work by researchers at California State University Los Angeles. This study had two interrelated tracks: (1) to utilize Probation data collected as part of the settlement agreement, and (2) to conduct meeting observations, interviews, and reviews of documents related to the settlement agreement.
Analysis of the Probation data was led by Dr. Denise Herz and Kristine Chan at the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics. This portion of the study analyzed data collected by Probation on youth screened for developmental disabilities at juvenile halls between May 2012 and December 2014.
Meeting observations, agency personnel interviews, and the review of documents related to the settlement agreement was led by Dr. Lois Weinberg, Jolan Smith, and Michael Oshiro at the Charter School of Education. The period for this work was January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2015.