California. Grand Jury (San Francisco).

Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) online

. (page 12 of 32)
Online LibraryCalifornia. Grand Jury (San Francisco)Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) → online text (page 12 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


is advisable. It is the parents who will be ultimately responsible
when the child is returned. If the parents were invited to confer
with the Placement Officer involved with the placement and were
informed of the alternatives, diminished dissatisfaction where
distant placements were advisable might be the result. Parents'
involvement in their children's futures, where practicable, should
be encouraged. The final determination for placement, however, must
rest with the Probation Officer and with the Court.

We do not advocate the wholesale shipment of our youth to
other vicinities. But we do feel that each child's future and
possibility of rehabilitation must be the ultimate consideration.
Therefore, we suggest that there remain some flexibility in the new
policy.

Organization

In talking with numerous individuals at Youth Guidance
Center, one recurring theme was the present organization regarding
the general assignemnts of Probation Officers. We have been presented
with many Justified grounds for a revised approach.

The present system involves the three separate functions
of Intake, Court Officer and Supervisory probation caseloads.
Initially, a Supervisor in Intake reviews each new case and assigns
it to an Intake Probation Officer. That Officer reviews the case,
prepares a report and submits it to a Court Officer. The Court
Officer presents the case to the Court. After a Judicial decision
has been rendered, if the child is put on probation, the file is
turned over to the Supervision unit. A Supervisor there reviews
the case and refers it to the Supervision Officer. That Officer
reviews the file and begins his/her supervision of the child. During
the entire process, the child has had three Probation Officers.

We recommend that serious study be given to a reorganization
of the department so that a single Probation Officer follow each
youth through the entire process with the exception of the duties of
Court Officer. Some of the bases for our recommendation of a review
and possible reorganization are as follows:

1. The Probation Officer who investigates the case and
prepares the initial report becomes somewhat familiar with a

-112-



JUVENILE COURT - YOUTH GUIDANCE CENTER (continued)

particular child. He has interviewed parents and, perhaps, the
ward's peers and has certain impressions, as well as information,
which cannot always be accurately passed on in writing.

2. The retention of the case after Judicial determination
would eliminate the review of the case by one Supervising Probation
Officer and one Probation Officer in the Supervision Unit.

3. The child would feel a more stable relationship with
his Probation Officer. He would have one Probation Officer through
the entire procedure (and a Court Officer at the hearings only)
and could begin to develop a working rapport almost immediately.

*J. The Probation Officer who follows the case from Intake
through the end of the probation period would be more accountable to
both his client and to the department .

5. It is our information that Intake caseloads vary more
than do those of Supervision. This proposed revision would provide
a better balance.

Some at Youth Guidance Center have suggested that each
Probation Officer should perform the duties of Intake, Court Officer
and Supervision. There are some Justifications for this approach,
although we feel that there may be more organizational arguments in
favor of having the Intake and Supervision activities combined and
retaining the separate function of Court Officer. We might suggest,
however, that some thought be given to assigning the Court Officers
to each of the four units rather than having them isolated in a
separate department.

Those arguments which have been most persuasive with
regard to an independent function of Court Officer are the following:

1. With an independent Court Officer, there is less
anxiety between the child and that person who will ultimately be his/
her Supervising Officer. Having the Supervising Officer present the
evidence against a child in court, we feel, would result in unnec-
essary animosity.

2. Formerly, before Judge Mayer reassigned the types of
cases heard by each of the Referees and the Judge, there were problems
with predicting the times of the particular hearings and having the
Probation Officers available when their cases were to be heard. We
understand that the new system facilitates a smoother running calendar,
We do not, however, feel that having each Probation Officer function

as a Court Officer would provide the same efficiency as is presently
achieved. We can foresee problems with having Probation Officers
waste valuable time in the event that the preceding case were to
extend beyond its estimated time or being unavailable when his/her

-113-



JUVENILE COURT - YOUTH GUIDANCE CENTER (continued)

case was called.

3. Court Officers should be trained specifically with
regard to Court procedure. Not all Probation Officers presently
have the same degree of training and expertise in this area and we
feel that their time may be better spent in other types of training
programs .

We recommend that, since this one aspect of the organiza-
tion of Youth Guidance Center was presented to us by so many, a
serious study be made of it with a view toward the change suggested.

The Grand Jury would like to commend the efforts and
assistance presently being provided by the Volunteer Auxiliary of
the Youth Guidance Center. As the first of its kind in the United
States, this organization has been operating for twenty-seven years.
Through grants, fund raising activities and dues, it is able to
provide approximately $20,000 annually to augment the budget of the
YGC. This fund provides the salary of a night coordinator for the
cottages, provides recreation and crafts, crisis needs, small
salaries for some of the youth who perform gardening duties at Youth
Guidance Center and numerous other forms of assistance. Additionally,
the auxiliary has been able to obtain volunteers from San Francisco
State Psychology Department to work on a one-to-one basis with the
status offenders at the cottages. The citizens of San Francisco
should be truly grateful that there are people such as these who so
willing give to help the youth of the City.

We do not feel that we should let this opportunity pass
without commending the dedication of the Juvenile Justice Commission-
ers. Time and time again, we have been impressed with the scope and
direction of their activities. Whenever the need arises for research,
long and short term planning or the general administration of Youth
Guidance Center and the Ranches, the Juvenile Justice Commission
rises to the cause. We laud their conscientious efforts in perfor-
mance of their duties.

During our year of service on the Civil Grand Jury, we
have received and reviewed reports from other Jurisdictions
nationally on innovative programs which are being implemented.
Among the most impressive of those was the report on a Mew Jersey
approach to Juvenile delinquency. The New Jersey Juvenile Court
ordered fourteen youthful repeat offenders to participate in a
program at the State Prison. The children were left alone with the
hardened adult offenders and were told about what to expect from
the adult prisons. Certain statements were made about the lack of
females in prisons and very blunt threats toward the boys, them-
selves, were made. Stories of violence and intimidation were
related. According to the report, of the fourteen boys who par-
ticipated in the initial program, not one had in the year following,

-114-






JUVENILE COURT - YOUTH GUIDANCE CENTER (continued)

been re-referred to the Juvenile Court for further offenses. We
understand that some of the inmates at the San Quentin adult
facility, with the approval of the administration, have initiated
a similar pilot program for selected youth.

San Francisco has, for many years, been viewed as one
of the more progressive cities in the United States. Perhaps
by the very nature of the beast, San Francisco can also become a
leader in child rehabilitation. Programs such as the one in New
Jersey mentioned above, while obviously of minimal cost might
serve a very useful purpose. While this is only one of several
experimental programs which have been brought to our attention,
we feel that it is significant. The administration of the Juvenile
Probation Department is undoubtedly aware of many others. The use
of volunteers in this regard could be of great assistance. We
would strongly urge San Francisco to try to implement some of the
more promising new programs in aid of our ongoing fight against
the juvenile crime in this City.



-115-



ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT

The San Francisco Adult Probation Department has a primary
responsibility for overseeing the activities of those persons who
have been found quilty of committing crimes in this City and who
have been referred to the Department by the Municipal or Superior
Courts. In addition to this surveillance activity, it is involved
in crisis intervention for its charges and their families where
the crises might have an effect on the rehabilitation of the probationer!
It also oversees the collection of fines imposed by the Courts and
any restitution which may have been ordered. In those cases where
alcohol or substance abuse counselling is required by the Court,
or where the Probation Officer sees the need, the Department works
as a resource referral agency. Counselling is provided to those
individuals who are receptive to, or in need of, that service. One
additional responsibility lies in the preparation of "pre-sentence"
reports for the use of the Courts.

Temporary Status Of Probation Officers

Perhaps the most significant factor affecting the activities
of the Probation Department has been the lack of a resolution of
the temporary employee problem. In May of 1977, of the 40 Probation
Officers, 29 were temporary; 16 of the 29 Senior Probation Officers
were temporary to that position and 6 of the 9 Supervisors were
serving under a temporary status. The threat of loss of employment
or demotion was further compounded by the extraordinary number of
individuals competing for the available positions: 422 competing for
29 Probation Officer slots; 54 testing for 16 Senior Probation
Officer positions and 60 applying for the Supervising Probation
Officers' 7 positions. Having vested up to seven years as temporaries
awaiting results of Civil Service tests, none of these people have
known if they would still have Jobs when Civil Service lists were
finally posted. It is not surprising that among some, morale was
low. Such position insecurity could not have been conducive to active
and effective supervision by Supervising Probation Officers who,
at any time, might be replaced by their subordinates. Perhaps a
brief history of the Civil Service examinations for the various
classifications of Probation Officers in both Adult and Juvenile
Probation departments is appropriate.

Beginning in 1970, certain jobs became available on a
temporary basis only, because of temporary leaves or temporary promotions i
within the departments. There was a Civil Service list at this time.
Under Civil Service rules, if no one on the list wishes to fill a
temporary vacancy, the Department itself can fill the position with
whomever it chooses. Inadequate attention was given during this
time to the hiring of minority personnel which later prompted the
filing of affirmative action lawsuits. By September of 1973, the list

-116-



ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT (continued)

had been exhausted. At that time, announcements were sent out for the
positions of Probation Officer, Senior Probation Officers (promotive)
and Supervising Probation Officers (promotive). There were protests
filed with Civil Service regarding the terms of each of these
announcements. The protests and appeals were acted upon by the Civil
Service Commission and, by May 197^, necessary announcements were
reissued. On July 3, 197^, three Probation Officers, Scarlet Gordon,
Santiago Rodriguez and Calvin Booth, filed a class action suit delaying
action on all Probation Officer examinations. That litigation
continued for one and one-half years and, finally, in January of 1976,
the case was settled by Consent Decree. In April of lojf, , all
examination announcements were reissued. From April until the first
of August, protests were received and hearings conducted. Shortly
thereafter, in October, 1976, the written examinations were held and
protests and counter-protests to these examinations were filed. The
Civil Service eliminated a relatively large number of questions
from the tests because of their ambiguity and other problems and accepted
multiple answers on others. Also during this time, two additional
suits were filed - one by the promotive Probation Officers at Juvenile
Court and one by the temporary Probation Officers also at Juvenile
Court. During the period from January 31 through March 17 , 1977,
oral examinations were given. On February 1, a suit was filed by
the Human Rights Commission contesting the passing point require-
ments in the promotive examinations. We understand that, in order
to facilitate the affirmative action program for the Departments,
an adjustment was made. Additional protests were filed by the
participants in the oral examinations which were ruled on by Civil
Service .

In the latter part of May, 1977, Civil Service was ordered
by the Superior Court to advise all Black and Spanish surnamed
applicants that they were entitled to retake the oral examinations.
This Order was made on the basis of a serious oversight by the
Civil Servie Commission in its failure to provide the Plaintiffs
in the Scarlet Gordon case with lists of oral board examiners as
previously ordered by the Court. This defect in the testing procedure
has again extended the time which will lapse before permanent staff
in this one category can be selected. However, with regard to the
other job descriptions, the morass has been brought to an end.

Because of the time involved in the resolution of the
temporary employment problem, a majority of San Francisco's Probation
Officers had a vested interest in retaining positions they had assumed
thereby resulting in the numerous appeals. Another contributing factor
was the appointment of temporary employees without adequate regard
to affirmative action policies. This situation was necessarily corrected
in the Civil Service examinations, however it left a number of well-
qualified minority Probation Officers, who had long worked as
temporaries, without jobs.



-117-



ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT (continued)

This long-term battle toward the appointment of permanent
Probation Officers for each of Adult and Child Probation Departments
suggests to us that some revision in employment practices for the
City should be adopted. In this regard, we advance the following:

1. It is imperative that testing for a new eligibility
list be conducted before Civil Service lists expire
or are depleted.

2. The City's policy of allowing employees to take
unnecessary extended sick leave at the end of their
City employment tenure requires the hiring of
temporary personnel. If positions are required, as
in this case, they should not be left vacant. Perhaps
the City should look toward the example set by other
cities which pay a percentage of the sick leave accrued
prior to retirement or, as is done in the private
sector, the City should regard sick leave as Just
that - not as additional vacation leave or a bonus.

3. We would also note that an extraordinary amount of
time has been spent by the administrations of Juvenile
and Adult Probation as well as by other departments -
Civil Service, City Attorney and the Courts - toward
a resolution of the problem. This was a further
waste of funds and talent.

4. San Francisco's Civil Service must look at the City
appeals provisions with a view toward revision more
in line with those other cities. San Francisco has
among the most liberal of appeals policies and some
revision in this regard is necessary.

Clerical Personnel

In the Adult Probation Department , there remains a dearth
of supporting clerical personnel. Probation Officers continue
to type some of their reports - a very poor use of their time,
indeed. The situation has improved somewhat due to an infusion of
CETA personnel into the Department. However, clerical assistance
continues to be lacking. We would suggest that, based upon the
repetition inherent in preparing pre-sentence reports and petitions
to the Courts, thought be given to leasing word processing typewriters
on an experimental basis. We suggest that use of these systems
may result in substantial savings in additional personnel requirements
and increased quality in their work product.

In May of 1977 a new position of Senior Stenographer was
acquired through the forfeiture of one line Probation Officer position.

-118-



ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT (continued)

The Senior Steno assigned to this position has responsibility for
overseeing the work product and performance of a majority of the
clerks and typists in the Department. We feel that this position
will be a great asset to the clerical functions of Adult Probation.

Pre-Sentence Reports

One of the responsibilities of the Probation Department
is the preparation and submission to the Courts of pre-sentence
reports. These reports integrate information regarding the prior
offenses of the defendant, his/her legal status (whether currently
on probation, parole or under the Jurisdicition of another State),
family and employment status and other data required by the Courts
for use in properly sentencing the defendant. Because of the past
poor quality of some of the reports, and varying requirements of
each of the Judges, the Courts' former lack of reliance upon the
reports may have been Justified. A number of changes are being made
which we believe will encourage the greater use of pre-sentence reports
by the Courts .

1. Under new State laws, the pre-sentence report format
will require substantiation for every statement. The
reports will no longer be based on hearsay (any second-hand
information will necessarily be attributed to its

source) and more factual reports will be produced.

2. Under the reorganization recently accomplished in
the Adult Probation Department, one division has
responsibility for compiling the information and preparing
all reports . Those Probation Officers who have formerly
had difficulties in formulating lucid, accurate reports
will work in other divisions where their particular
talents may be better utilized.

3. Better systems for accumulating necessary data

are being formulated. Among these is a new procedure
wherein requests for information and the preparation
of basic pre-sentence reports are begun on all defendants
upon their placement on the arraignment calendar.
This new system provides an additional three to five
weeks to accumulate information. Since sentencing
will occur in many of those cases in which arraignment
takes place, this is an excellent way to improve the
quality and validity of the reports .

^4. A new short form has been devised for use in the Superior
Court where prison sentences will not be considered
or ordered because of the nature of the offense or the
status of the defendant.



-119-



ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT (continued)

5. Chief Adult Probation Officer Walter Morse recently

served on a committee of the State Chief Adult Probation
Officers' organization. A pre-sentence report format
was prepared. It has been accepted and recommended
by the State Judicial Council. Once Probation Officers
have been adequately trained in its use, content validity
and efficiency will result.

The Department's Future

Under the able leadership of Walter Morse, the Department
has begun its reorganization and refocus on the responsibilities
assigned to it. In his relatively short time as Chief Adult
Probation Officer, a number of new programs and revisions to old
procedures have been adopted. A few of these, we feel, deserve
mention.

1. Department reorganization. The major component

of the Department's reorganization was the reassignment
of caseloads. As mentioned earlier, a separate pre-
sentence report division was created. Additionally,
cases are now assigned through a geographic district
format. Although some problems exist with this type
of assignment with regard to those very transient
individuals , this program has validity . Community
input can be better utilized with a specific view
toward problems which are prevalant in each district.
Specialized caseloads, according to the needs of the
area, become more manageable and individual Probation
Officers can become more familiar with the community
resources in their particular areas.

2. Training. The 1975-76 Grand Jury recommended

that training be instituted. Now that new personnel will
be hired and existing personnel reassigned, we feel
that training is not only advisable - it is imperative.
The Probation Department recently requested 5% in matching
funds from the City in order to receive a $15,000 LEAA
training grant. The Board of Supervisors originally
refused to grant the $750 required to obtain the
training money but later conceded. This new program
will provide training for the new Probation Officers,
new techniques and procedural training for journeymen
and supervision and management training. Each of
these functions is absolutely necessary to the
operation of the Department.



•120-



ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT (continued)

3. Probation Officers in Court Capacities. Probation
Officers have traditionally been assigned to each of
the Superior and Municipal courtrooms where criminal
cases are heard to advise the Probation Department of
the judicial orders. This procedure became necessary
because of the inaccuracy and sporadic reporting to
the Department of orders involving their services.

The Probation Department has now removed its Officers from

most of the courtrooms and reassigned them to caseloads.

It is working with the Courts to improve the quality

and accuracy of the reports submitted to the Department

by the Court Clerks. We recommend that a simple form

be utilized specifying the length of probation, conditions

required for the granting of probation, i.e., substance

abuse or alcohol counselling, orders of fines, resititution,

etc. If it is determined that incorrect or inadequate

information is derived by this method, we suggest

that Probation Department clerks research Court records

or that CMS be used to verify the information.

Defendants, themselves, should no longer be responsible

for reporting the fact of their ordered probation to

the Department , nor should Probation Officers' valuable

time be spent in duplicating the efforts of the Courts

Clerks.

4. Resource Unit. There has traditionally been a
mistrust of the Probation Department by community
agencies. The Probation Department has recently assigned
two Officers to develop a liaison with agencies which
may be of assistance to their charges. The Officers'
assignments include the assessment of the strengths

and weaknesses of community agencies and the relaying
of this information to the Probation Officers. Probation
Officers will make use of this information in matching
their clients' needs with available services and in
making recommendations to the Courts in pre-sentence
reports. A resource manual will be prepared with annual
reviews and updates incorporated.

The 1976-77 Civil Grand Jury feels that this Department has
made great strides in the last year toward resolving a multitude
of problems. We trust that, through its continued efforts, the
Department will achieve the efficiency required to provide those
services required of it.



-121-



LAW LIBRARY

The Law Library has been operating in San Francisco since
1870. It has a self-electing, self-perpetuating Board of Trustees,
which Board appoints the Librarian. Operating costs are provided for
the most part (80*) by a Law Library fee which is added to the
Municipal and Superior Court filing fees. The remaining twenty percent
is provided from the City General Fund. This twenty percent amounts
to $70,000 to $80,000 and pays for three salaries with the remaining
amount being allocated to the lease of copying equipment. The City
also furnishes space at two locations for the Library.

Through the years, the Law Library has been increasingly
used by the general public which now makes up approximately fifty



Online LibraryCalifornia. Grand Jury (San Francisco)Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) → online text (page 12 of 32)