principles to practicalities for institutional staff.343 They wanted language that would enable them
to do what they needed to do in daily operations and also to be able to respond to exigent
circumstances that inevitably occur in juvenile facilities.344 Bit by bit, the legislation was amended
to provide an agreed-upon definition of “room confinement”; to recognize the legitimate use of
locked room confinement for specific purposes; and to include guidelines, time limits, and
At the same time, the original sponsors of the legislation made it clear that they wanted an
end to using locked room confinement for disciplinary purposes—something that was not
explicitly banned in the subtle shift to “separation” from “segregation” in state regulations.345 They
also wanted clearer guidelines for dealing with children who were at risk of self-harm or who had
other serious behavioral issues.346 Further, the proponents wanted the law to set a maximum time
for locked room confinement, with strict guidelines to be used when a longer time was
necessary.347 The dialogue continued and, by June 2016, Mark Bonini, President of the Chief
Probation Officers of California, and Sue Burrell, from co-sponsor Pacific Juvenile Defender
Center, penned an opinion piece for the Sacramento Bee about the evolution of joint efforts—the
timing of which coincided with the Senate floor vote.348
Those close to the legislation have credited Senator Leno for his leadership in providing a
safe space for the discussions to occur.349 Jennifer Kim of the Ella Baker Center has observed that
it seemed like the first time both sides talked and listened to each other.350 She remembers thinking
that these meetings transformed her belief that people on the other side will inevitably resist
reform.351 Instead, she said, the Chief Probation Officers expressed a shared goal to end lengthy
room confinement and, at the same time, articulated the reasons they previously employed it for
safety and security.352 They also identified the specific impediments they saw in the legislation as
written.353 The Chief Probation Officers wanted sustainable, practical ways to address the issues
that in the past have resulted in the use of locked room confinement.354 They were tired of the
standoff and wanted to move on.355
For Jennifer Kim, this process was immensely important. She believed that getting the
people who would be responsible for implementing reforms to the table would produce a more
practical and less ideological discussion.356 In addition, she noted that, when people “buy in” and
actually become a part of designing reforms, the results are much better than when you are
“jamming change down their throat[s].”357 Once the Chief Probation Officers joined as co-
343 Interview with Danielle Sanchez, supra note 307.
345 Interview with Jennifer Kim, supra note 263.
348 See Mark Bonini & Sue Burrell, A rare consensus on juvenile detention, THE SACRAMENTO BEE (June 1, 2016,
4:00 PM), http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article81182057.html.
349 Interview with Jennifer Kim, supra note 263; Interview with Danielle Sanchez, supra note 307.
350 Interview with Jennifer Kim, supra note 263.