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Working group for Probation Department oversight

In February, the Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a high-level working group to examine current oversight of the Los Angeles County Probation Department and determine whether a new citizens’ commission should be established to comprehensively monitor the troubled agency. The Board’s action came amid the search for a new probation chief and was modeled after the process that led recently to creation of the Citizens’ Oversight Commission for the Sheriff’s Department, which is expected to begin work in the months ahead. This webpage is intended to encourage public participation in the working group’s efforts by providing meeting times, agendas, audio, news stories and relevant documents.


Upcoming meetings


     

     Agendas / Minutes / Audio



     Community Town Halls



 Working Group Members

Carol Chodroff is a Los Angeles attorney and nationally-recognized expert on juvenile justice. She has worked on behalf of court-involved children, youth and young adults for twenty years. She has served as a teacher in the juvenile justice system, a federal public defender representing youth and adults in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, staff counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary and director of the Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative. She currently is a Senior Fellow for the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Senior Fellows Leadership Program, and a member of the Board of Trustees for InsideOUT Writers.

Chodroff began her career as a consultant for the Delancey Street Foundation, where she worked on the juvenile justice reform initiative for the city and county of San Francisco and helped create a charter high school for court-involved youth. She later served as a federal public defender in San Diego and as the U.S. advocacy director for Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C.  She then worked as special counsel to Congressman Bobby Scott and as staff counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary under Congressman John Conyers, Jr.  She oversaw legislation on a wide range of issues within the Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction and served as lead counsel on the Youth PROMISE Act and other legislative initiatives affecting vulnerable and court-involved youth. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked for the Alliance of Children’s Rights as director of the Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative – a multi-agency, cross-sector initiative to improve education and employment outcomes for foster and crossover probation youth.

Chodroff holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, a Master’s in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University.

Alex Johnson is the Executive Director for the Children's Defense Fund-California, the state office for the Children’s Defense Fund; a national organization founded in 1973 by Marian Wright Edelman.  As Executive Director, Alex leads the organizations statewide advocacy, policy, program and organizing efforts to ensure access to quality affordable health coverage and care for children and low income families, reforming the juvenile justice system, promoting educational equity, and ending child poverty.

Prior to assuming this position, Alex served as Assistant Senior Deputy for Education and Public Safety to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.  Prior to returning to Los Angeles County where he was born and raised, Alex worked with school instructional leaders in the New York City Department of Education where he provided counsel to school leaders and departmental executives as well as managed complex civil litigation, policy matters and special disciplinary proceedings as part of a teacher quality initiative. He taught high school students as a Fellow with the Marshall Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project and has served as an adjunct lecturer at Lehman College.

Alex began his public service experience in the offices of U.S. Representatives Julian Dixon and Juanita Millender-McDonald. He served as an aide to Georgia State Representative Douglas C. Dean and as a project manager for the 2000 Democratic National Convention Committee in Los Angeles. Alex worked for the late noted attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. and previously served as an Assistant District Attorney in Bronx, New York where he advocated for victims of domestic violence.

Alex is a graduate of Morehouse College and earned his Juris Doctor from American University, Washington College of Law. As an Equal Justice Works Fellow in law school, he advocated on behalf of indigent defendants at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.

He is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Education, the Board of Directors for the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN), and serves on the Board of the Wiley Center for Speech and Language Development.

Jose Osuna is the director of external affairs for Homeboy Industries,  a position he has held had since May, 2015. Prior to that, he was director of employment and, earlier, led the Solar Panel Installation Training and Certification Program at Homeboy. Jose leads Homeboy’s internal advocacy initiatives, such as ‘Banning the Box’ from employment applications. These issues are important to the population served by Homeboy Industries, where up to 75% of those who work in the program and seek services have served prison terms and have felony convictions. He works on numerous special projects, most recently to establish a Homeboy Alumni Network. Working with elected officials and community leaders, he coordinates and directs grants outreach to find potential and appropriate private and governmental funding.

Jose is uniquely qualified in his Homeboy roles. He first came to Homeboy as a trainee in the 18-month program. He had previously served 13 years in prison and had been gang- involved activities since he was 13. Eight years ago, Jose’s son, Moises, was killed due to gun violence. Jose uses this experience as one of the strongest motivating factors in his work at Homeboy. Jose is currently taking classes at East Los Angeles College. He’s a proud father to his children, Jesse, 24, Josie, 18, and Isabel, 23.

Gabriella Holt has been a passionate advocate for the health, education, and welfare of all youth in Los Angeles County for over 30 years. Holt served on the Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection in 2014 resulting in recommendations to improve the county's comprehensive child protection system. Holt was appointed to the Los Angeles County Board of Education (LACOE) in June 2010 and is currently serving her third 2 year term.

Commissioner Holt serves on the Los Angeles County Probation Commission, which oversees approximately 2000 minors in the county’s juvenile halls and camps and 20,000 minors on probation in the community. Ms. Holt serves on the Board of Supervisor appointed Los Angeles County Comprehensive Education Reform Committee which is responsible for the design and implementation of major education reforms, including charter schools, in the county’s juvenile court school system.

Holt is a former local elected official serving 2 four year terms on the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Board of Education. She was a governing board member on the Joint Powers Authority Board of Education that governs the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (SoCal ROC) and is a trained school site visitation member for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation Commission (WASC).

Ms. Holt is a former California vocational education teacher credentialed in Career/Technical Education specializing in Arts, Media, and Entertainment. During her teaching tenure Ms. Holt, designed, launched and operated RPV CityTv CH 33’s digital public television station and production studio fully operated by at risk students enrolled in the SoCal ROC television and digital video production courses.

Ms. Holt holds an Executive Juris Doctor in Health and Administrative Law from Concord Law School, an accounting credential from UCLA Anderson Graduate School extension, and is California CPA exam certified.

Holt has her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. As a licensed registered nurse Ms. Holt has practiced in Emergency and Intensive Care Units and also in the areas of quality assurance, utilization review, hospital bill auditing and health care case management. Holt is an active member of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Reserve Corps and California’s Statewide Disaster Healthcare Volunteer System.

Holt’s background in education, healthcare, business, law and governance have been extremely beneficial in her advocacy efforts. Holt believes in a multidisciplinary case management approach where all service providers work in concerted and coordinated collaboration to support the successful potential of the county’s youth.

Don Meredith is an experienced law enforcement professional, educator, consultant and commissioner. He has a broad base of knowledge in managing law enforcement operations, working collaboratively with communities and instructing college students and law enforcement personnel. Don, also served as a member of the Cadre for state of California Department of Education/Department of Justice, working with communities, school districts and law enforcement agencies throughout California.

In May 2002, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich nominated Don to serve as a Probation Commissioner with the appointment being unanimously approved by the Los County Board of Supervisors. As a commissioner, Don has held a number of executive positions including commission president.  In his commissioner role, Don was instrumental in helping the department establish a permanent Probation Training Academy, the only one in California.

Don is a graduate of the University of Southern California, School of Public Administration’s Delinquency Control Institute; the University of Southern California’s School of Engineering Aviation Safety Management program; Union Institute and University, Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice Management, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy for Law Enforcement Executives.



The Working Group for the Civilian Oversight Commission of the Probation Department welcomes your comments and recommendations on improving the Probation Department.  Please be assured your submissions will be anonymous and will be forwarded to the Working Group for their consideration.

Please click here to submit your recommendations or comments to the Working Group.