Supervisors back plan to stop the use of pepper spray at juvenile halls

fILE PHOTO. probation officer.

County supervisors who called for the use of pepper spray on kids in juvenile halls to be phased out by year’s end have endorsed a plan on how to go about doing that.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors received a report titled: “Phasing out and eliminating the use of oleoresin capsicum spray in juvenile facilities.”

Oleoresin capsicum is commonly referred to as pepper spray.

Supervisors called for the plan after they were alarmed over a 2018 report revealing how often kids are being pepper sprayed in juvenile halls.

Pepper spray can cause intense eye pain and lead to temporary blindness, burning in the throat, blistering of the skin and an inability to breathe, according to earlier testimony heard by supervisors.

“Our goal is to eliminate OC spray,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said Tuesday during discussion of the plan prepared by and submitted to the board by the county’s Probation Department.

“They are our children,” she said of those in L.A. County’s juvenile halls. “And, it is important to provide all the resources necessary and for when they leave the system and are on a path that should be a far better path.”

When probation officials were told to come up with a plan to eliminate the spray they were also ordered to come back with a plan that considers “best practices for options for physical discipline, both short and long term, including mandatory training for all Probation Department staff working in the halls and camps.”

In presenting their plan to supervisors, probation officials noted in their report that “the option to use OC spray will be eliminated at all juvenile camps by July 31.”

Supervisors began efforts to eliminate the use of pepper spray late last year after learning of data released in March 2018 that showed the use of pepper spray in the county’s juvenile halls had tripled between 2015 and 2017.

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