Supervisors consider phasing out pepper spray use in juvenile halls

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County supervisors alarmed last week over a report revealing how often kids are being pepper sprayed when they’re placed in juvenile halls considered a motion Tuesday to phase out use of the debilitating spray in those facilities.

The item was continued and is expected to be addressed at a later date.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors considered a recommendation calling on the chief probation officer, county lawyers, the Office of Inspector General, the Department of Mental Health and other county agencies to report back to them in 60 days with a plan for the phased elimination of the use of OC spray in all Los Angeles County camps and halls before the end of calendar year 2019.

The motion also requires the same agencies to come up with a plan suggesting alternatives to pepper spray.

Specifically, they want a plan that considers best practices for options for physical discipline, both short- and long-term, and includes mandatory training for all Probation staff working in the halls and camps.

A week ago, supervisors were presented a report prepared by the OIG.

OIG investigators looked at three of the county’s juvenile facilities, from 2015 to 2017, and found: a 338-percent increase in the use of pepper spray at Central Juvenile Hall; a 214-percent increase in its use at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall and a 192-percent increase at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall.

Nidorf, on Filbert Street in Sylmar, is the juvenile hall where law enforcement officers take juveniles who are detained in the Santa Clarita Valley.

jholt @signalscv.com

661-287-5527

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