July 14, 2023
Media Contact: Probation Media
Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall Is Up and Running as Youths from Central Move In
LOS ANGELES, CA (July 14, 2023) — Marking a new era in its juvenile operations, the LA County Probation Department late Thursday officially vacated Central Juvenile Hall after moving all pre-disposition youth from the aging facility to its reopened Los Padrinos campus in Downey.
The Department began moving groups of youths from Central Wednesday. The first phase consisted of 87 youth, with the second phase of 86 youth settling in at Los Padrinos shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday. The parents of the youth were notified of the transfers, which took place after the school day so as not to interfere with programming.
With two releases, there are now 171 youth in all at Los Padrinos, part of an unprecedented three-month effort to shift all conventional juvenile operations to the reopened campus.
“It’s official — Los Padrinos is now a functioning juvenile hall and Central no longer houses youth,” said LA County’s Interim Chief Probation Officer Guillermo Viera Rosa.
Viera Rosa added the Department will now “evaluate the stability of the situation” before deciding when to move pre-disposition youth to Los Padrinos from Barry J. Nidorf Hall by July 23.
Once that is complete, Barry J. Nidorf will no longer house pre-disposition youth — individuals who face charges as minors and are awaiting disposition of their cases — and all such operations will be fully consolidated at Los Padrinos, marking what Viera Rosa said will be a “new day” for the Department.
“When it is completed, the relocation of nearly 300 youth, along with hundreds of officers and staff to Los Padrinos, will be the beginning of a larger transformation of operations, staffing and culture in our juvenile halls,” said Viera Rosa.
“Vacating Central this quickly, safely and smoothly has required incredible effort and coordination with our partners in other County departments,” he said. “It just shows what the County can do when everyone, from the Board of Supervisors down to the newest probation officer, pulls together.”
The move from Central beats a deadline set by the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) to close the facility down by July 23 because it is considered “unsuitable” for juvenile operations. The BSCC set the same deadline for the closure of Barry J. Nidorf, which it also deemed unsuitable.
Even before the BSCC set that deadline, however, the County Supervisors voted May 2 to approve a plan by Viera Rosa to shift all pre-disposition operations to Los Padrinos, touching off an effort by multiple County Departments to prepare the facility, which was closed in 2019. Work crews put in 16 hours a day at Los Padrinos repairing fixtures; installing floors, pipes, and cameras; upgrading the kitchen; and repainting the interior.
Last Friday, the BSCC officially declared portions of Los Padrinos suitable as a juvenile hall, paving the way for this week’s move from Central. After the move from Barry J. Nidorf, youth will occupy nine living units on the 26-acre Downey campus. They will also have access to school rooms, a gym, recreational fields, and a swimming pool.
Viera Rosa said consolidating juvenile operations at Los Padrinos will also help boost staffing numbers, which suffered at both Central and Barry J. Nidorf, compromising safety and leading to the curtailment of youth programming and classes.
More than 360 full-duty Probation officers will be reassigned to Los Padrinos, enough to establish safe staff-to-youth ratios and restore services and programming for youth.
Meanwhile, 116 full-duty officers will be assigned to Barry J. Nidorf, which will become a dedicated Secure Youth Track Facility for about 60 older, more serious offenders who can no longer be held in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Division of Juvenile Justice, which is closing.
The Department is also in the middle of a hiring and training campaign to add more than 300 new probation officers to both Los Padrinos and Barry J. Nidorf by the end of 2024.