Friday, July 26, 2013

Sex In Juvenile Hall?

In March 2013, six probation department employees were fired, and seven more suspended after an internal investigation of Orange County Juvenile Hall found serious monitoring lapses in a high-security unit.

What sparked the investigation, was teenagers discovered having sex in one of the dormitories of OC Juvenile Hall a month prior. In February 2013, a 17 year old male juvenile snuck into a 17 year old female juvenile’s room and remained unnoticed for hours. Both juveniles were in custody for very serious and violent offenses.

The internal investigation revealed that regular safety checks of minors were skipped and logs were inaccurate. Believe it or not, before June 2013, Orange County was the only county in Southern California with coed juvenile hall units. (In June this changed, largely because of the February 2013 incident). There are 319 male minors in Juvenile Hall, and 29 female juveniles. Probation Officials at the time cited limited resources, and a low number of female juvenile offenders as the reason behind their coed practice.

Routine checks are supposed to be performed every 15 minutes, and were found to be frequently skipped in the high-security unit, where the most serious underage offenders were housed. (Thus two minors engaging in sex acts for hours. If the checks were happening as they were supposed to the minors would have been caught much sooner). The internal investigation also revealed the electronic logs used to keep track of the checks had been filled out inaccurately to cover up this lack of due diligence.

The incident and investigation has been noticed by several oversight agencies including the Orange County Juvenile Justice Committee, the grand jury, and the Board of Supervisors. Chief Duty Probation Officer for the department’s Support Bureau, Bryan Prieto said the investigation was still ongoing and probation is looking into a new check system that includes all of juvenile hall, not just the one unit of this investigation.

If your child is detained in juvenile hall and you need help with getting them released from custody, please contact The Law Office of Katie Walsh at (714) 619-9355.
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