Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles County Probation Department (LAC Probation) are committed to the cause of criminal justice reform. The department has been proactively enhancing its evidence-based client supervision models and increasing outreach to the community, while at the same time working to procure and provide effective community-based services for its 37,000 adult and 5,400 juvenile clients as they work to successfully re-enter society. During recent years, the Department has made great strides in becoming more client-centered and responsive, engaging more fully with the community, and implementing evidence-based practices, with the ultimate goal of reducing recidivism, increasing the safety of its neighborhoods, providing alternatives to incarceration where possible, and giving communities a stronger voice in the County’s law enforcement. The overarching impacts of such efforts have the potential to be remarkable.
For example, when citizens are arrested and must post bail in order to be released from jail, many don’t have the money to do so. As a result, the citizen is incarcerated and lives and families can be seriously disrupted During their time of incarceration, jobs, automobiles and housing are often lost. Many of those jailed are left with no one to look after their children. That’s why bail reform, which aims to reduce or eliminate cash bail in many cases, has become a priority in Los Angeles County. LAC Probation is participating in initiatives to improve their pretrial services processes which will help some of these citizens hold on to their jobs, marriages, families and lives, ultimately strengthening their communities as well.
With the June 2019 release of reports by the Probation Reform and Implementation Team (PRIT) calling for the creation of a Probation Oversight Commission, LAC Probation has embraced these recommendations and intends to accelerate its pace of transformation and devise strategies for measuring and reporting its progress. The scope of the proposed project is significant, due to the size of the Department—it is the largest probation services agency in the nation, with more than 6,500 employees and twelve operational bureaus across the Department. The Department has in excess of 80 specific initiatives that they are working to implement and track across these twelve operational bureaus designed to better serve clients; enhance community collaboration; reduce recidivism; and facilitate improved data gathering and tracking processes so as to be better positioned to share its progress with the Board of Supervisors and other internal and external stakeholders.
To support this work, LAC Probation will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive fellow for one year who will act as the project manager of its reform program, ensuring initiatives are carried out, integrating them into a cohesive project design, and developing and instituting methods of measuring and reporting progress. The fellow will thus provide crucial capacity to LAC Probation in achieving important transformation, which will in turn help Angelenos and their families thrive.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency.
Starting in September 2019, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will conduct an overview of Department’s operations and project management needs and meet with its management and staff. With this base of knowledge and feedback, the fellow will prepare a road map for process enhancement, including appropriate project management tools and protocols that will assist the Department in tracking its efforts to implement evidence-based supervision services and increase its collaborative efforts with community-based service providers in overarching efforts to reduce recidivism, improve supervision outcomes, and help clients’ lead positive lives.
The fellow will incorporate Probation initiatives into an overall project management design that includes mechanisms for tracking completion and progress toward achieving initiative goals, as well as procedures for communicating results internally to Probation executives and other stakeholders; including the Probation Oversight Commission and the LA County Board of Supervisors. By the conclusion of the fellowship year, the fellow will be helping to support a complex system of integrated action plans that are measuring progress on individual initiative goals that support the Department’s overall reform objectives. Accountability and tracking mechanisms will be in place, as will processes for continuing the work going forward.
The fellow’s success will be evaluated based on several factors. The fellow will apply a strong technical project management background as well as attendant electronic data-management strategies to the complexities of probation services delivery, utilizing an awareness of best practices in project development and management across multiple sectors. The FUSE Fellow should possess significant experience developing the tools and protocols to manage and track multiple projects simultaneously. This background, combined with strategic thinking, high-level skills in facilitating intradepartmental collaboration will provide the fellow with the required tools to help the Probation Department appropriately manage its critical projects.
With the fellow’s help, Probation will be delivering criminal justice reform designed to keep more people out of jail and facilitate the successful reintegration of justice-involved individuals into their communities through the provision of community-based supportive services. These services, which are provided by the Office of Diversion and Reentry (ODR) may include, but are not limited to care coordination and navigation services to mental health services, substance use treatment, physical health services, and other supportive services based on client need.
- Assess the landscape — Establish relationships with Probation executives, gain an understanding all of stakeholders and open lines of communication. Review Probation history, PRIT recommendations and previous research, such as RDA’s August 2017 report. Assess individual initiatives across Probation’s 12 bureaus and determine current status. Identify areas where action plans still need to be developed and coordinate collaborative guidance to facilitate the preparation of these action plans by the impacted bureaus.
- Develop project management framework — Establish a project management design that will incorporate priorities along with deliverables, time frames, and processes for capturing and measuring data and reporting progress. Ensure that all individual projects are integrated into a cohesive reform plan, with coordination of efforts among bureaus as well as relevant external agencies. Identify projects that can be fully completed and tested within the fellowship year. Consider technology and specialty software programs that may be valuable in executing all aspects of project management, particularly with respect to accountability infrastructure, including a global tracking system as well as methods for communicating key status information in an automated and easily understood manner. Acquire or create systems and implement new project management workflows. Build trust with current internal stakeholders and generate buy-in to utilizing new systems. Train existing staff and build momentum towards wide adoption of new project management tools.
- Execute, test, and ensure long-term viability —Oversee the overall project management program while ensuring individual action plans are proceeding properly. Pay special attention to the identified projects that can produce results quickly so as to build momentum and demonstrate the correct function of designs and mechanisms. Monitor progress, identify challenges and make adjustments as necessary. Ensure tracking and communication of results address the specifics of accountability requirements. Draw insights from initial cases and apply to project management design(s) to maximize impact going forward. Establish long-term infrastructure and processes to continue strong execution after the conclusion of fellowship year.
- Reaver Bingham, Chief Deputy – Adult Services, Los Angeles County Probation Department
- Ron Barrett, Deputy Director – Adult CORE Services, Los Angeles County Probation Department
- Howard Wong, Deputy Director – Adult Investigative Services, Los Angeles County Probation Dept.
- At least 15 years of professional experience in high-level project management, particularly large-scale or complex projects requiring senior level coordination and detailed monitoring of progress.
- Experience in criminal justice or corrections helpful but not required.
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
- Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
- Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
- Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
- Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
- Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.