I recently visited Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall to see firsthand the conditions contributing to what has become a dangerously unhealthy and unsafe climate for the young people and staff. Currently there are 52 young men between the ages of 18 and 25 that qualify to be transferred to a Secure Youth Track Facility. These facilities offer safer settings and provide on-site resources for true rehabilitation, healing, and growth so justice-system involved youth can successfully reintegrate into their communities and overcome recidivism. This is needed immediately for the young people at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall.
The concerns and stories shared by staff, volunteers, young people, and their families were disturbing. From the repressive layout of the compound to the lack of on-site resources and antiquated living conditions, it continues to be painfully clear that this facility is in a deep state of crisis. Absent urgent and bold action, I fear that the situation will continue to deteriorate, and that the severity of the violence will get worse. The young people in the Probation Department’s care need and deserve far better.
It is long past time for the Probation Department to use its authority to move the young people already dispositioned by the court to be eligible to complete their sentence at a Secure Youth Track Facility into Campus Kilpatrick. This crisis demands decisive action. With the population expected to grow to 170 secure track youth, we can no longer delay the desperately needed step of moving the young people who are ready to be served by rehabilitative programs into a facility that can appropriately meet their needs.
The Board of Supervisors (Board) has already taken the necessary steps to ensure that the Probation Department is ready to take this action. On July 27, 2021, the Board adopted a recommendation for Campus Kilpatrick to be a temporary Secure Youth Track Facility (SYTF) – which can house up to 48 male youth sentenced to an SYTF – until a permanent location is identified. On September 15, 2021, the Board took additional steps to ensure that a range of programs and services would be ready for young people who get placed at Campus Kilpatrick. On March 15, 2022, the Board went further by:
Campus Kilpatrick is ready to serve many of the young people dispositioned to an SYTF. Moving them out of Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall will position the Probation Department to better serve all the young people in its care. The cost of further delays is unacceptable and dangerously high. With a grave level of concern for our young people, I urge the Probation Department to act.