Insiders say the tactics of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon are fueling a violent crime surge. Youthful felons roam the streets free while committing crimes that once placed them in jail.
Few violent offenders enter the failing Los Angeles County juvenile jail system. At the same time, thousands more remain on the streets without charges for actions that historically would have led to automatic confinement.
Gascon’s anti-jail position for juvenile offenders contributes to the crime surge, say insiders.
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“Our prosecuting approach should be geared toward keeping minors out of the juvenile system,” Gascon wrote to prosecutors on Dec. 7, 2020.
Officials say this has opened the floodgates for young offenders. “These severe crimes are unpunished.”
A probation department manager stated juvenile crime is soaring. “If we catch them, nothing happens. You may get home detention. They’re held until they’re booked.”
Only murderers, rapists, and violent criminals see Juvenile Hall, claimed the manager. The number of children arrested for felonies in California last year was 9,162, down 79% from a decade ago.
“You can carry a loaded gun unlawfully, and we can’t prosecute. That’s a misdemeanor,” said a juvenile-focused DA’s office attorney.
“We used to be eligible to process a felony if there had been a prior conviction. We can’t file.”
Gascon has a policy against pressing certain charges, including gun usage in crimes, while state lawmakers decreased several felonies to misdemeanors.
Minors accused of attempted murder may not be jailed. The manager of a group home alleged a kid committed murder there. When cops know charges won’t be filed, it’s hard to blame them for not making arrests, the manager said.
Prosecutor said if officers cease arresting and stop prosecuting, they can say, “Prosecutions are down, so we’re doing well.”
Gascon’s instruction ordered prosecutors to stop charging children who experienced trauma with specific offenses.
“Crimes comprising property damage or small altercations with group home employees, foster parents, and other adolescents shall not be charged,” the guideline added.
Family of slain El Monte police officer blames DA George Gascón for his deathhttps://t.co/xIaJrnGv5h
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Minimum Jail Time
Insiders claim prosecutors are told to seek the least jail time possible. “Filings will comprise of the lowest possible code section that relates to the accused conduct,” the regulation said.
Even sex offenses are lenient. “We will avoid categorizing typical adolescent action as a sex offense and instead cooperate with suitable partners to deliver effective interventions,” the directive added.
Youthful offenders are aware of the changes to the rules, which led to out-of-control smash-and-grabs and burglary robberies, police said.
Lt. Craig Walker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department remarked the following: “We often only cite them when it used to be a felony. They don’t see the rotating door crash shut behind them. So, they’ll keep committing crimes.”
Gascon believes the new policies will help children.
“We must engage in community-based services, education, health, mental health programs, and other resources,” the instruction read. “Any court engagement in a teen’s life should be proportionate, brief, and lead to a brighter future.”
This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.