Event marks milestone in transformation of probation’s approach to juvenile justice
The first cohort of youths completed their court-ordered rehabilitation under the supervision of the Los Angeles County Probation Department at the new Campus Kilpatrick were recognized at a culmination ceremony at the facility on Monday, Dec. 18.
Campus Kilpatrick is the flagship location of the “L.A. Model” for juvenile rehabilitative service facilities. Youth are housed in cottages, not military style barracks and learn to work cooperatively. With a much lower staff-to-youth ratio and programming that emphasizes education, counseling and vocational training guided by a trauma-informed child centered approach, Campus Kilpatrick is center stage for a new research-based modelthat utilizes a therapeutic and holistic approach to juvenile behavioral rehabilitation.
The Campus Kilpatrick juvenile detention facility opened to much support on June 30, 2017. The facility received its first group of boys days later on July 3. The 15 that were recognized at the event successfully completed their intensive 16-week rehabilitation program and a semester of a unique project based learning approach to education provided by the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Capacity at the campus will gradually scale up as other Probation Camps are consolidated.
“What we are celebrating today is a life changing experience,” said Anthony Marenco, Principal of the Road to Success Academy at Campus Kilpatrick. ‘We can’t force change on you. However, we can provide you multiple opportunities for you to accept change and make better decisions.”
In conjunction with the celebration, L.A. County Countywide Communications released an 8-minute mini-documentary about Campus Kilpatrick. The video goes behind the scenes of the new facility and introduces some of the people who are bringing the L.A. Model to life. It offers a frontline perspective on how this transformative approach in juvenile justice is unfolding. The video can be viewed and downloaded at https://vimeo.com/239515922.
Sheila Mitchell, L.A. County Probation Chief Deputy for Juvenile Services and one of the individuals featured in the video thanked the youth for their trust that staff did right for them each and every day and implored the young men to trust that they have all the tools needed to do well when they leave Campus Kilpatrick.
“Know that you are not alone when you return back to your community,” said Mitchell. “It might be hard when you return home so reach out. Reach out to one of the staff that have been there for you over the last several months… We hope that you see Probation as part of your extended family that cares deeply about your well-being.”
Anthony, a youth at Campus Kilpatrick, spoke on behalf of the other young men in the first cohort about how they were treated with dignity, respect and care by the staff at Campus Kilpatrick. While at Campus Kilpatrick, Anthony has earned 3 credits toward college and has ambitions to attend college and eventually get a master’s degree.
“Campus Kilpatrick gave us a lot of opportunities,” said Anthony. “It is a place to move us on into the future. It is not a place to punish us…This place has taught us how to be a community.” To close out the ceremony, Anthony sang a heartfelt rendition of the song “Adios Amor” by Christian Nodal.
Campus Kilpatrick and the “L.A. Model” are examples that demonstrate how the L.A. County Probation Department is committed to providing its young people with the evidence-based rehabilitative tools necessary to build a productive future. L.A. County operates the largest juvenile probation program in the United States, with 10 juvenile camps, three juvenile halls, and over 2,000 employees dedicated to juvenile probation services.