(DISCUSSION) Chief Probation Officer’s report:
Chief Siffermann commented that the spike in juvenile hall population has kept the Dept busy trying to find ways to keep the numbers down. The reasons for the increase are basically the same as reported before; the 707b cases. They are also in the process of testing for new staff, training on the YASI instrument to be used in the Dept’s processes, and furthering the planning for LCRS programs and renovation.
He mentioned 3 events he attended: a program by Each One Reach One, where actors acted out plays written by 10 youth in juvenile hall.
A memorial event for John McNerney, a juvenile hall counselor.
A management mtg at LCRS, where all managers went and each made an individual pledge as to how s/he would support Toni Powell at LCRS.
He mentioned the Civil Grand Jury’s report comment on moving CARC closer in proximity to the Dept’s operations. He suggested using the old intake/admissions building as the site for CARC.
This will be taken up at the Program’s Committee.
Comm Queen asked if there is any one impediment to the relief of the juvenile hall population question? The Chief said that the case processing mechanism is a big problem whenever one or another “partner” in the process is in disagreement with a recommendation. It gets held up and delayed.
The Chief also said there were more youth of 18 yrs or older who are still in juvenile hall. They could simply transfer these to the adult jail for holding but didn’t feel that was a positive choice.
There are also situations out of their control like the changing staff in the state bodies responsible for making assessments of youth, or the increased numbers of undocumented youth whose cases take longer to move forward. He said that what we ultimately would need is a shelter for many of these youth.
Comm Fetiçō expressed his frustration at what seems to be a chronic situation where the same problems of undocumented youth, delayed case processing, disagreements among the partners have left us with a higher juvenile hall population. He said there’s still staff lacking at Log Cabin Ranch, as well as juvenile hall, resulting in more OT, there’s still no one helping Lonnie Holmes in the community programs division, but we have more administrative staff now.
He also said he didn’t know what was going on with the Dept’s budget since he wasn’t allowed to see the entire budget. He faulted the Commission for not demanding more accountability and not being on top of everything.
Comm Rojas asked about the work with Huckleberry House on the undocumented youth issue. The Chief said that it was a success where they took 3 at any given time. This takes up space from others they would have taken care of. They are still reviewing the relationship and refining it.
Comm Woodson asked what the Chief meant by having a citywide review of the issue, what benefit would result and what has been done to initiate such a review.
The Chief said they have convinced the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to establish a workgroup to deal with the issues of juvenile justice. The first issue will be the juvenile hall population. Members of the workgroup are SFPD, DA, PD, CBOs, DCYF, DPH, SFUSD reps. They will look at how citywide policies might affect the operations of this Dept.
Comm Stiglich asked if the native plant program they are talking about for LCRS will be operated out of the old greenhouses? Yes. Comm Stiglich also asked what powers the Dept has in impacting the detention/release process. The Chief said that while he can share and carry the outlook of the Commission on what the right actions are in relation to detention, it can’t be “willed” on the line staff. That this comes from supervision and guidance and currently that is being carried out by line staff’s peers (due to lack of supervising PO staff) and they need training in order to be able to actuate that outlook.
Damone Hale commented off mike so much was not picked up. His final comment was that the Chief needed the support of the Commission to get the staff necessary to do the work to get the confidence of the courts.