Friday, January 6, 2012

Imperial County Civil Grand Jury: Not certain whether changes to final report about juvenile hall will be made, jury foreman says

Staff Writer
12:50 a.m. PST, January 6, 2012

Whether the Imperial County Civil Grand Jury will update its report on the county’s juvenile hall following Wednesday’s suicide of a 16-year-old Winterhaven boy at the facility has yet to be determined, the civil grand jury foreman said Thursday.

Gil Rapoza, who is serving for the first time as the jury’s foreman, said such findings would be made public if the 19-member body brings up the topic in a future meeting.

Rapoza declined to specify when that meeting would occur, citing confidentiality rules pertaining to the civil grand jury, but stressed he could not speak for the jury “as a whole.”

Rapoza added that he could not say with any certainty whether the recently released and upbeat final report about the juvenile hall would be changed in light of what happened Wednesday night.

The report was based “on what we knew at the time,” said Rapoza, who could not say whether mental health evaluations or behavioral health issues would be included among the evaluations the civil grand jury would observe in a future annual report.

The final report that was released provided an account of such things as the 72 minors the juvenile hall facility can house, the number of supervisors it has on staff and other factual items.

But neither mental nor behavioral health evaluations appear on the list of things the civil grand jury looked for in its report that commended staff and volunteers at the facility “for their excellence, service, procedures and care for those in their custody and devotion to duty.”

Rapoza said he was not with members of the civil grand jury when it toured the juvenile hall “within the last couple of months.”

Officials with the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department referred all questions about the teen-age boy to the County Counsel’s Office, which issued a general, three-paragraph news release Thursday.

The statement provided little information about the boy, or what he was in for, but reported that a sheriff’s investigation is under way.

A review team comprised of probation officers, behavioral health and public health leaders will also be conducting a probe into what happened “as per county procedures.”

Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at Copyright © 2012, Imperial Valley Press

No comments: