Eastlake Juvenile Hall

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Formerly: Central Juvenile Hall

Now: Eastlake Juvenile Hall. Established 1912

This was the first juvenile hall detention facility in Los Angeles county. Under the command of Los Angeles county, probation usually houses juveniles temporarily while their court proceedings take place. Generally released to parents, foster care, placed in a 3 to 12 month camp or placed in California youth authority in extreme situations.

We took a tour of the facility.

Starting in their intake – shower and change into prison clothes. Examined for physical and mental conditions. Male and females have different areas to change as they are separated at all times during their stay, except for when they visited the church.

Assigned a building – males in mixed housing regardless of rival gangs. When they’re walking around they must keep their hands behind their back as well as putting a fist up when they wanted an officer so they are unable to start a fight, or show gang signs.

We were shown the classes and library for education as this was mandatory. All had to take part in 300 minutes of school time along with an hour recreation time and the option to take part in different programmes such as rules of society, health classes (sex education), taught the boys how to treat girls and vice versa.

They had the chance to earn points, that could be spent in the shop with options such as books, food and sport equipment.

Since there is an increasing number of transgender entering the hall, the probation officers found it difficult to decide where the individual should be placed, either with the male or females. As either way the inmates were not happy.

The tour also consisted of seeing the shower rooms and toilets. None of them had any doors or private cubicles however there was a room for pregnant women to shower so they’re able to sit down. They only received a small sachet of deodorant which was claimed to smell worse than not wearing it.

There was only a small room where they ate all meals and wrote their letters home. However there was a common room for indoor recreation.

We also saw the cells which were very basic and eery room. There was a  small bed and sink/toilet with windows that they didn’t have the key to close.

Bedrooms were also covered in graffiti, ranging from gang names to ‘free me’ written.


Criminology trip, Day 2: Homeboy Industries, Twin Towers Correctional Facility and City Hall, LA.

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On the morning of May 18th, we spent several hours with service users and providers at Homeboy Industry.

Homeboy Industry provides an 18 month reintegration program that consists of educating and employment services, legal services and free tattoo removal for those previously incarcerated,  involved in gangs or in need of assistance.

During our time at Homeboy Industry we heard the testimony of two employees regarding their work and their previous history of gang involvement. We also heard how Homeboy Industry had helped them become valuable members of society and of their family units.

Homeboy Industry is also focused on providing assistance to the wider community through a number of services at aim to empower and enrich both the individual and the community whilst also upholding the belief that “Whatever you have done does not define who you are.”

city hall laWe then went on to visit Los Angeles City Hall where we met with a range of staff the from Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, to learn more about gang prevention and intervention services. GRYD was established in 2007 as part of a pioneering effort to reduce the influence of gangs in the lives of young people in LA. We learned about the neighbourhood-based approach that focuses on high-gang-crime areas and the programmes that help young people at risk.

Finally, we all went on to visit the Twin Towers correctional facility, which Twin towersis part of LA county jail. The Twin Towers houses 1,400 mentally ill patients in downtown Los Angeles. This offered a sense of the pressure facing the US prison system as it attempts to cope with the manifold difficulties of working with people with mental health issues who come into contact with the justice system. We gained real insight into the complexities that emerge from creating a mental hospital inside a jail, and were able to ask prison staff a range of searching questions about the realities of life behind bars in the USA