In Los Angeles County, on any given night, more than 14,000 people are confined in the County’s jail system – over 5,000 of which have serious mental health needs. These shocking numbers are reflective of the broader history of the intersections between race, health, and incarceration across not just the County but also the entire United States. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Board) recognizes this painful history and has taken several steps to reduce its reliance on incarceration and to expand diversion and treatment. Unfortunately, as this hard work has progressed, it has become clear that standing up justice reform programs through multiple departments have not integrated service delivery to the extent needed to achieve true justice reform. Recognizing the need to break down these silos, the Board took action on March 1, 2022, calling for the creation of a new Justice, Care & Opportunities Department (JCOD).
Under the JCOD, the centralization of currently scattered efforts to serve vulnerable justice-impacted populations will now become the singular focus of one department in the County. To support this work, the JCOD implementation team (led by the Alternative to Incarceration Office) will partner with FUSE Corps to plan and oversee the launch of the new department. The FUSE Executive Fellow will help project manage the launch, building and overseeing comprehensive project plans to ensure a smooth transition. This work will be essential in enabling the County to emerge as a bold leader in the national justice reform landscape, accelerating the transformative process of creating a more just and equitable Los Angeles County for all residents.