County abandons plan to house violent male juvenile delinquents in Saugus

The new plan calls for Camp Scott to house female juvenile offenders.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is changing tack in its plan to create a juvenile camp in Santa Clarita, marking a major victory for city officials who are involved in a lawsuit with the Probation Department over Scott’s previously announced camp plans in Saugus.

On Tuesday, with a proposal titled “Adopting a Global Plan for Probation Department Halls and Camps,” leaders voted to make Camp Scott the primary facility for female offenders in the county’s juvenile justice system.

The County Juvenile Justice Block Grants Committee, a group mandated by Senate Bill 823 to make recommendations for transforming the state juvenile justice department, originally recommended that the county spend millions to transform Camp Scott into a high-security facility for violent male criminals who have committed their crimes. crimes. as juveniles, but may be detained for up to 25 years.

The 2020 law called for the closure of all public juvenile facilities with the goal of transferring all inmates to county facilities while “overhauling” the current system.

The committee’s plan for Camp Scott drew the ire of local residents and leaders, who objected to the plan to house the county’s most violent juvenile delinquents in close proximity to residences, as well as concerns about the safety of the site itself in the event of fires, floods, and other disasters.

Tuesday’s move calls on the Probation Department to “renovate Camp Scott to end temporary use of the Dorothy Kirby Center, return young women and girls from the Dorothy Kirby Center to Camp Scott, and use Camp Scott as a single county detention facility for all girls.” It passed unanimously.

Santa Clarita Mayor Jason Gibbs issued a statement expressing his satisfaction with the move Tuesday afternoon:

“We are pleased to see the county changing course to Camp Scott and using it again to house and rehabilitate young women and girls who are not serious offenders,” he said in a statement sent via text message on Tuesday. “The original proposal went against the wishes of our community, council and our leader and would not have been to the advantage of violent youth seeking rehab.”

County Executive Katherine Barger, who supported the move, also issued a statement in support of the move on Tuesday.

“I wholeheartedly supported our Probation Department’s global plan for juvenile halls and camps that was unveiled today,” Barger, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley, said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “It was a thoughtful proposal that balanced the choice of institutions that could be really and quickly used for the rehabilitation of youth in our county’s care. I am very pleased that Barry J. Niedorff (in Sylmar) will be converted to accommodate youth who were previously under the care of the state. These young people need a safe environment where therapy, education and training programs can be offered. About a year ago, I submitted a similar proposal to use Niedorf instead of Camp Scott, which didn’t go through, but I’m glad we can now agree on our path and next steps.”

The move is reopening Bouquet Canyon Camp in a way that is consistent with the site’s historic use, according to a city statement. “There are no plans to reopen Camp Scudder, which is located on the same site and was closed by the county in 2019 due to issues related to its structural vulnerability.”

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