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LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas wants Justice Dept. to help fix LA County Probation Dept.

File photo: Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
File photo: Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

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A Los Angeles County Supervisor wants the federal Justice Department to help fix problems at the L.A. County Probation Department. Mark Ridley-Thomas visited Capitol Hill to make his case.

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas says the L.A. County Probation Department is in big trouble. The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the agency over its commitment to education.

The state’s written up the department for substandard nutrition in juvenile camps. And probation supervisors can’t account for all their personnel. Ridley-Thomas says L.A. County needs help.

Ridley-Thomas has lobbied congressional members from L.A. County to send letters to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and ask for federal intervention. He says he believes "it’s time for the Department of Justice to come to Los Angeles, take a very hard look at Probation. If it needs to be what happened in the case of the L.A. Police Department, where there was a consent decree that got LAPD in much better shape than it had ever had been, then so be it with the Los Angeles County Department of Probation."

Ridley-Thomas says some of his fellow supervisors disagree. He acknowledges that federally mandated changes could cost L.A. County a lot of money. But the supervisor insists that repeat offenders could cost the county much more in the long run.