By Michelle Lewis, Parole Agent III

The Los Angeles Watts Juvenile Parole Office recently conducted a transition conference to help juvenile parolees prepare for life after parole due to the passage of SB1021 (Termination of Juvenile Parole Supervision).

More than 40 juvenile parolees attended the Parolee Transition Conference, which was the brainchild of Juvenile Parole Agent II Specialist Cherie Ware.  Helping put the conference together and hosting it were:  Parole Agent III Supervisor Carol Barker, Parole Agent II Specialist Ada Heard, Parole Agent I Mike Daum, Staff Services Analyst Charmayne Whitmore, and Student Intern Karina Melendrez, all of the LA Watts Juvenile Parole Unit.

Guest speakers from Venice Youth Build talked about the eligibility requirements for their free program, which is a paid vocational training program for youth under age 25.

Lolis Tackwood, a previous California Youth Authority ward in the 1980s, spoke about maintaining sobriety and navigating in the world as a former parolee.

PA II Heard spoke about sealing of records and passed out booklets from the Youth Law Center about the process.

Mike Segovia, a licensed Clinical Social Worker, spoke about ways to maintain one’s mental health during the difficult transition time. He also gave resources for community-based programs to assist parolees after parole.

Jason Lehman, Long Beach Police Officer of the Directed Enforcement Team, explained the difference between a parole violation and a new crime.  Officer Lehman also explained how law enforcement will no longer have the option to defer to parole.

He further explained the registration requirements for gang registrants and sex offenders.  He also explained what a gang injunction is and what it really means. He talked about making good choices in order to stay out of jail.

In addition, parolees received recognition if they were receiving a recommendation for honorable discharge.  Also receiving recognition were parolees who paid the most restitution, been employed the longest, had the oldest YA number, etc.

At the end of the Transition Conference, every parolee in attendance received a thorough Resource Guide, which included all the information provided at the conference and more to assist them in the community once Juvenile Parole is terminated.