Agenda for a Just Future,LGBTQ & Gender Justice,Youth & Transformative Justice

County Supervisors Vote to Move Girls Out of Youth Prisons

December 16, 2021
By Courtney Kassel

The end of girls’ incarceration in L.A. County is within reach!

On November 30, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to move more girls and young women out of probation camps and halls.

Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn co-authored the motion calling for the board to act more aggressively by implementing a plan focused on lowering the number of girls and young women incarcerated in county youth prisons. This motion is an additional effort to ensure that the Board of Supervisors’ priority and approach to “care first, jail last” is also inclusive of the incarcerated youth in LA County.

Many of the girls and young women have polytraumas, are victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, and trafficking. Research tells us that girls and young women of color are continually over-represented in the system. They are arrested and incarcerated at younger ages than boys and for lesser offenses.

As a result of the intersection of their race, gender, and class, their risk for system involvement heightens. In 2021, Black girls were nearly three times as likely as their white peers to be incarcerated.

Liberty Hill Foundation believes that we can end the incarceration of girls and young women by building stronger, safer, and more equitable communities where the distinct experience of girls —particularly youth of color — are no longer criminalized for the violence and discrimination they face. Due to myriad and intersecting inequities girls of color are facing in Los Angeles County, it is imperative that the philanthropic and donor community adequately invest in the work of organizers, advocates, direct service providers, and researchers that are prioritizing the unique needs of this population in our region.

This county board motion is a step in the right direction for Liberty Hill and our community partners from Khmer Girls in Action, the Youth Justice Coalition, and the Young Women's Freedom Center, Children’s Defense Fund-California, and the LA Youth Uprising Coalition, as well as the entire coalition of organizations and activists who have been fighting for these changes for years. But whether it makes any difference in the lives of LA’s girls depends on funding, training, and supporting organizers to drastically reduce incarceration and improve outcomes for system-impacted youth in LA County. And that’s exactly what Liberty Hill plans to do in partnership with community and government stakeholders.

Related Article: How Many Of The Girls & Young Women In LA County Probation’s Youth Lock-Ups Really Need To Be There?