Executives from Japan’s Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice, study the L.A. Sheriff's Dept. jail operations
The myriad of programs and educational opportunities offered to inmates serving sentences in the Los Angeles County jail system were showcased yesterday to four high ranking Japanese government officials from the country’s Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice and Health. In attendance was the Deputy Director-General, the Coordinator of Juvenile Treatment Division, the Director of the Rehabilitation Support Office, General Affairs Division, and Officer of General Affairs Division. Faced with the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics, the Japanese government is making a concerted effort to reduce recidivism and increase their country’s overall safety.
The officials, who are in Los Angeles on a study tour related to Tokyo 2020, visited the Inmate Reception Center (IRC), Twin Towers Correctional Facility (TTCF), Men’s Central Jail (MCJ), and Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF). At each stop, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department staff shared their expertise, unique experiences, day-to-day operations, and answered dozens of questions from their captivated guests. Questions ranged from the basics of hiring and scheduling, to the treatment of the mentally ill, to the future of the LA County jail system.
At the first site visit, IRC staff walked the officials through the booking, medical and mental health screening, classification, housing, and release procedures that an arrestee typically undergoes in the first few hours following his or her arrest. Of particular interest was the Community Re-entry and Resource Center where newly released individuals have the exceptional opportunity to obtain housing, employment, and other forms of assistance from county agencies.
Next, at Twin Towers, the officials were pleasantly surprised to find a Japanese-speaking deputy awaiting them for the tour. That particular overview, conducted entirely in Japanese, took them to several floors of Tower 1 and Tower 2, where they were able to observe the unique layout of Twin Towers and how the LASD cares for the large number of mentally ill inmates in our custody. At the third stop, Men’s Central Jail staff introduced the visitors to the LASD’s oldest jail facility, and answered their questions about gang structure in Los Angeles.
The lengthiest visit of the day was dedicated to an in-depth look at CRDF, where the Japanese government officials toured the Adults Bonding with Children (ABC) program, High Observation Housing, the Step-Down program, the sewing vocational school, the beauty shop, and Education Based Incarceration modules. CRDF inmates spoke candidly and at length to the visitors about the opportunities offered to them by the facility, and how those opportunities have helped contribute to making their time in custody more productive. One of the MERIT Masters, who is due to be released in the coming week and has spent eight years in custody, credited her participation in the EBI program with giving her an exit strategy and radically transforming her life.
Impressed with the programs, vast scope and logistical organization of the LA County Jail system, the Japanese government officials were exceedingly thankful for the overviews and walking tours. By the same token, the opportunity to meet and spend the day with the Japanese government officials was truly a highlight for the LA County Sheriff’s Department and the personnel that met with them yesterday.
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