Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has never forgotten that your top concern is the safety of your family, home, school, neighborhood and community. He understands your concerns about crime and violence. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that you and your family feel safe where you live, work and recreate.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas knows crime fighting is important, but he also knows there is more to public safety than apprehending wrongdoers and locking up convicted criminals.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas believes it is important to examine the root causes of crime and evaluate conditions that may lead to violence in our communities. He is particularly concerned about our young people and a path toward crime they may sometimes be encouraged by others to walk.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has worked with community residents and county officials to better understand young people in our communities and the daily problems they encounter.
He has been an advocate for programs that intervene at the neighborhood level to encourage our youth to choose education and productive pursuits that will steer them clear of activities that could lead them to being incarcerated for crimes committed as teens or young adults.
Ridley-Thomas Studies New Way Forward for Probation Youth
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is studying the feasibility of creating and funding a Residential Academy for Los Angeles County probation youth. The residential academy concept would provide probation youth have an opportunity to receive a high quality college preparatory education.
The residential academy concept could feature ‘wrap-around’ social services in a safe learning and living environment so our young people on probation could complete their high school education and begin their post-secondary studies.
The result of the residential academy concept would be to fully prepare young people trapped in a cycle of crime and incarceration to become productive members of society with the learned ability to make a positive contribution to their communities.
If successful, the residential academy concept could become a national model. No residential academy currently exists for probation youth, so thorough study of the concept is needed.
Ridley-Thomas Envisions Ongoing Support for Foster Youth
The residential academy concept is also being studied to determine its capacity to serve as a college preparatory boarding school for foster youth, providing our young people in foster care environments with a safe, secure and enriching alternative school education and housing placement option that does not presently exist in Los Angeles County.
Ridley-Thomas Pushes County on Juvenile Probation Reforms
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas brought together a coalition of organizations supporting his call for increased U.S. Justice Department oversight of the county’s Juvenile Probation Camp system. He has closely studied alternative education programs for juveniles housed in probation camps, included among the programs studied was the Maya Angelou Freedom Schools model implemented in our nation’s capitol in the Washington, D.C. juvenile probation camp system, as well as the City of Houston’s juvenile probation education model.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas fought for an alternative facility model at Camp Kilpatrick based on the State of Missouri model for juvenile probation camps.
Ridley-Thomas Fights for County Jail Reforms
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas was the prime mover behind the establishment a Citizens Commission on Jail Violence. He has been strong advocate of broad reforms of policies and practices of the L.A. County Sheriff in regard to allegations of inmate abuse at county jails. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has pushed hard for the development of a county jails master plan. He prevailed in securing approval for a comprehensive review of alternatives to incarceration that would include studying the potential expansion of drug and mental health treatment facilities.
Ridley-Thomas Makes Safe Public Places Part of Public Safety Agenda
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has worked cooperatively with the former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca and county Parks and Recreation staff to establish the county’s ‘Parks After Dark’ program. The Ridley-Thomas-backed community public safety effort is a summer program that incorporates gang intervention programs into broader park programs and couples those twin efforts to summer youth employment opportunities that in total are designed to reduce violence and lower the threat of violence at targeted parks in the county’s park system.
Ridley-Thomas Uses Community Data and Resources as Crime-Fighting Tools
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas collaborated with former Sheriff Lee Baca to fund the county’s Community-Based Information System, a comprehensive data tool to provide county and local law enforcement with an array of information that will enable officers and detectives to identify potential crime hot spots in targeted communities, and identify available community services and resources that may be used to help residents prevent crime.
Ridley-Thomas Appeals to Residents with Rewards to Fight Crime
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas joined former Sheriff Lee Baca to promote the county’s ‘Gift for Gun’ program that persuades residents to surrender their dangerous firearms in exchange for gifts, taking deadly weapons off our county streets and keeping them out of the hands of dangerous criminals. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas established ‘rewards for information’ that have resulted in the identification, prosecution and conviction of violent criminals.