Youth in detention should be released to reduce coronavirus risk, advocates say

Originally published by LA Times on 17/03/2020


Defense attorneys are working to expedite the release of juveniles in custody citing the Covid-19 virus’ ability to spread in congested areas and that the suspension of family visits could dangerously isolate the children. Detention operations including the state Division of Juvenile Justice have suspended family visits due to the coronavirus.LA County Sheriff had announced that it was: – releasing inmates from its jails; and – cutting down on how many people it books into custody to protect those housed in close quarters.LA County Probation Department said that it was currently: – screening all youth admitted to facilities for risk of infection at the time of admission; – collaborating with attorneys so that children are not sent back to juvenile hall for first-time probation violations – which decision is ultimately at the discretion of the court; – working on holding first time violations in abeyance, – working on other options for families to communicate with their youth, such as video conferencing; – posting additional signs, – ensuring restrooms and staff quarters are clean and well stocked, – bringing in more staff to regularly clean and disinfect common areas.

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