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Groundbreaking Settlements Seek to Protect Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Law Office of Katie Walsh
Groundbreaking Settlements Seek to Protect Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Over two years ago, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) began an investigation into the conditions of confinement at two juvenile halls. Based on the results of that investigation, a settlement has been reached that will improve the conditions and education services in Los Angeles County’s juvenile halls. The groundbreaking settlements seek to protect youth in the juvenile justice system in the county.

Extensive Investigation into Confinement Conditions

The investigation into the conditions of confinement began in October 2018. DOJ launched the investigation to determine whether the conditions for youth at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall and Central Juvenile Hall complied with state and federal laws. The Attorney General’s Office interviewed over 80 witnesses, conducted a number of site visits, and reviewed thousands of pages of documentation.

Confirming the allegations, DOJ found that the county did not provide sufficient services and, in fact, endangered youth safety. The investigation focused on the policies and incidents of use-of force, room and solitary confinement practices, access to grievance procedures, staff training, as well as rehabilitative programming, recreation, education, religious services, and mental and medical healthcare.

They found, among other issues, that the juvenile halls relied on inappropriate, excessive physical and chemical use of force. In an online news conference, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that the investigation focused, in particular on the unnecessary use of pepper spray and on unreasonable periods of cell confinement that kept youths from receiving adequate educational services and medical care.

Groundbreaking Settlements

The settlements, announced in January 2021, were reached between Attorney General Becerra, Los Angeles County, and the Los Angeles County of Education. As a result of the DOJ investigation, the settlements focus on improving the conditions and education services in the county’s juvenile halls.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education and the County of Los Angeles, including its Probation Department, Department of Mental Health, and Department of Health Services have agreed on a wide range of corrective actions, to be overseen by an independent monitor and subject matter experts. These corrective actions are aimed at securing positive outcomes for youth involved in the justice system and at ensuring systemic improvements to the county’s juvenile halls.

Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo, reflecting on the groundbreaking settlements, said, “We at the Los Angeles County Office of Education are passionate about our work and firm in our belief in the power of education to transform the lives of at-promise students in our juvenile hall schools. For the past year, we have cooperated closely with DOJ officials. The findings of their investigation demand that we all do better for the young people in our care. We welcome the opportunity to strengthen systems of collaboration and accountability so we can more effectively deliver the high-quality services our youth deserve.”

A Four-Year Plan for Corrective Action

The most significant outcomes of the DOJ’s investigation and the resulting settlements are extensive four-year plans to protect youth in the juvenile justice system. These plans include corrective actions in a number of important areas, including:

  • Limiting the use of force and requiring de-escalation as well as outside oversight and review of incidents.
  • Enhancing holistic efforts to support youth through trauma-informed and positive behavior approaches.
  • Improving confinement safeguards and practices to ensure youth are not unlawfully confined to their rooms.
  • Providing necessities of basic living needs, including bedding, hygiene items, and appropriate access to the bathroom.
  • Ensuring that youths are housed in a homelike environment.
  • Ensuring that youth have timely and appropriate mental health and medical care.
  • Providing appropriate time for education and improving the process for youth who are transitioning back to school in the community.
  • Providing a trustworthy and secure method for youth in the juvenile justice system to have their problems properly addressed.
  • Facilitating the collection of data and the analysis necessary to demonstrate compliance with the settlements, allowing for adequate ongoing internal review.
  • Requiring sufficient training for staff and appropriate staffing for the juvenile halls to be able to comply with the settlements.

Regarding the investigation and the resulting groundbreaking settlements, Attorney General Becerra said, “One of our core duties as a society is to lay the foundation for our children to build a better future. That has to be at the center of what we do as government when youth are entrusted to our care.” Becerra added, “I applaud the county for working with us to correct the wrongs uncovered by our investigation and committing to help these youth get the resources they need.”

Orange County Juvenile Defense Attorney

Please contact the Law Offices of Katie Walsh if your son or daughter is in legal trouble or faces school expulsion. Attorney Walsh has the expertise to advocate for your loved one’s well-being successfully. For a free consultation, call Katie Walsh at (714) 351-0178.

Client Reviews

I hired attorney Katie Walsh to help my son when he was found with a large amount of drugs on school campus. She got us through the Expulsion Hearing, and miraculously he can go back to school at the winter semester...

AR- parent of minor client

I hired Katie Walsh to have my felony convictions expunged. She was able to expunge my record within 6 weeks of me giving her all the information. Even though technically I had a probation violation, and therefore the...

AR, criminal client

My 16 year old son was charged with possession of Marijuana, HS 11357(b). I was very concerned about what would happen to him and how this would affect his future. I contacted Ms. Walsh and she assured me that everything...

CT, parent of juvenile client

My child was charged with Felony Penal Code 597(a)- Animal Cruelty. After hiring Katie Walsh, she got the charges reduced to a misdemeanor, counseling, and 40 hours of chores at home. We come back in 6 months and the...

DH - Parent of Juvenile client

I hired Katie Walsh to represent my son on sexual abuse allegations- P.C. 288(a) and P.C. 288(b)- they were Strike Charges. After negotiating with the D.A., she got all the strike charges dismissed, and got my son...

DR- mother of juvenile client

Katie Walsh was fantastic throughout this entire process! My 13 year old son was charged with two counts of lewd act on a minor, PC 288(a) and was in juvenile hall. After hiring Ms. Walsh, she GOT MY SON OUT OF JAIL and...

EG, parent of juvenile client

My 14 year old son was arrested at school for P.C. 311 (child pornography). My son had innocent and stupid nude pictures of himself and friends on his phone. Ms. Walsh was extremely easy to talk to, and made my son feel...

GK,TK, parents of juvenile client

Ms. Walsh was a life saver when I didn't know what was going on, or how to handle the situation. My young daughter was attacked at her middle school and was seriously injured. At a time when both the school and the...

HA, mother of 13 year old Victim Rights client

I hired Katie Walsh to seal my juvenile record of PC 288(a) (lewd act on a minor), after my request had been denied by a Judge and by the Probation Department. After speaking with Probation, the DA and the Judge at a...

JW, former juvenile client

I was charged with a Felony Conspiracy charge- PC 182. After hiring Ms. Walsh she got my charged reduced to a misdemeanor right away, and now I just have to do community service and in 6 months my entire case will be...

KP, juvenile client

Ms. Walsh was like a breath of fresh air throughout this entire process. I was uncertain about the outcome, but she told me everything would be ok- and it was. She had my juvenile record sealed within 3 months of...

LR, former juvenile client

Ms. Walsh got the judge to terminate my son's probation and seal his 2 juvenile cases (Penal Code 288(a) and Penal Code 242) even though he had violated my probation by picking up a new case. By getting his record sealed...

MB- mother of juvenile client

At a very difficult time in my life I contacted attorney Katie Walsh. I am a teacher and was being harassed/stalked by a parent at my school. I wanted a Restraining Order against this person. Ms. Walsh listened to me...

MB, restraining order client

My son was charged with Lewd Conduct, P.C. 647 out of Downey, CA. After hiring Ms. Walsh, she spoke with the District Attorney, Probation, and the Judge. Even though the judge was not pleased with the offer, she was able...

MG, parent of minor

It is with sincere gratitude that I send this recommendation As a parent of a child that was arrested on a Felony Domestic Abuse charge and over 2000 miles away I had to rely on friend of a friends word that you would...

MPF, mother of criminal client

I really liked having Ms. Walsh as my attorney. She visited me in Juvenile Hall. I was charged with four counts of Robbery (Penal Code 211). This was my 8th juvenile petition. Ms. Walsh got 2 of the robbery charges...

MU, juvenile client

I was arrested for a felony Domestic charge, PC 273.5(a). After I hired Katie Walsh, my entire case was dismissed. I never had to appear in court. I felt very comfortable with Ms. Walsh- she was easy to speak with...

NF, criminal client

Katie was instrumental in helping me with a criminal matter as an advocate for me and my children when I was a named victim in a DV case. She patiently and expediently addressed all of my questions and was an invaluable...


My daughter was pulled over arrested for having a Fake ID. After hiring Ms. Walsh my daughter did not have to plead guilty- which would have affected her license status. She did community service, completed a legal...


My 14 year old daughter was involved in an assault and battery- PC 240/242, in Irvine. After hiring Katie Walsh the case was not referred to Court. My daughter was able to complete a class and the case will be dismissed...

SG, mother a juvenile client

My son was charged with possession of Child Pornography P.C. 311.11(a) - a charge I did not realize a child could be guilty of! As parents were beside ourselves when we found this out, and contacted Katie Walsh. She...

SH- mother of juvenile client

From San Diego I contacted Ms. Walsh about sealing my juvenile record in Orange County regarding a Petty Theft charge. She was always very responsive to any of my questions, and consistently kept me updated. Even though...

XL, juvenile client

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