The Los Angeles Times released a story today on a report detailing the conditions of L.A County's Central Juvenile Hall. In short: the conditions are really, really bad.
The Central Juvenile Hall houses 200 young people. Those 200 young people, in turn, are subjected to conditions resembling a "Third World country prison," according to the report written by Azael "Sal" Martinez, who spent time in a juvenile detention center as a teenager and is now a "well-regarded Boyle Heights community leader." He was appointed to the Probation Commission by County supervisor Linda Holis, who asked him to report on the conditions of the county's system of juvenile centers.
Martinez also volunteers as a probation department monitor and, while spending time at the Boyle Heights Central Juvenile Hall detention center, he witnessed some pretty horrible stuff:
- Kids are occasionally put in units with no running water, besides in the staff bathrooms.
- A stench emits from the facility because of "broken toilets" and a general lack of upkeep.
- Some were sent into solitary confinement for flimsy reasons, like trading food with one another.
- When the kids peed, the urine would "(splash) back on their shoes and pants."
- The staff seemed largely indifferent toward the goings-on.
In a statement to the Times, one L.A. County Supervisor's spokesman Tony Bell said that "we are investigating the serious allegations concerning staff accountability, condition of the facilities and the misuse of solitary confinement."
L.A. County, meanwhile, is spending $233,600 per person to keep the center operational.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.