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Some Probation Officers Are Putting Homeboy Industries on the Blacklist

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Here's an absurd—and so far unexplained—bit of news: some probation officers are barring their clients from working at Homeboy Industries—you know, the group that has a contract with the county to work with juveniles on probation?

Homeboy Industries offers juveniles on probation social services, tattoo removal, counseling and sometimes even a job as a way to make a new life outside of a gang. But Witness LA reports that some probation officers are barring their clients from working there or even visiting the premises.

Homeboy Industries founder Father Greg Boyle says that the problem has been going on for months. One client was forced to quit his job at Homeboy, and he says at least 10 others have been discouraged from using Homeboy's services. Some are being told that going to Homeboy would be a violation of their probation, since there are so many other gang members on the premises.

"That's akin to telling an alcoholic he’s not allowed to go to AA because there will be other alcoholics there," Boyle told Witness LA. "It makes zero sense."

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Calvin Remington, the deputy chief of the county's probation department, agreed. He told Witness LA although Homeboy might not be for everyone, there shouldn't be any reason probation officers are actively discouraging gang members on probation from joining. He promised: "We'll look into it."

Boyle and Remington believe that some probation officers just aren't educated about what Homeboy offers, which is troubling to Boyle: "We’re not dependent on the probation department to help fill our caseloads. But I would hate to see someone denied the option to come here who really wants to turn their life around."

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