Set to be held on the eve of a pivotal county supervisors’ vote, Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the Santa Clarita City Council are holding a special meeting Monday to discuss, among other things, the possible decision to reopen Camp Scott in Saugus to house L.A. County’s violent youth offenders.
The special meeting comes on the heels of county officials announcing they would be holding a vote during the Board of Supervisors’ Tuesday meeting on whether to approve the future relocation of the county’s violent, male youth offenders to Campus Kilpatrick in Malibu and/or Camp Scott.
On Friday, Barger released a statement saying she opposed the motion recommending Camp Scott as the future permanent housing location for Department of Juvenile Justice youth, and announced she had submitted a competing motion to the one introduced by Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl.
“I strongly oppose Camp Scott permanently housing youth who were formerly supervised by the state,” Barger said in her statement. “It doesn’t make sense. Our county’s own Probation Department — which is staffed by the professionals and subject matter experts who are tasked with overseeing these youth — recommended that Nidorf Juvenile Hall serve as a Secure Youth Treatment Facility.”
Last year, the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council-Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Subcommittee evaluated various possible sites for the DJJ populations, using individual “scorecards” and criteria for each specific site’s suitability.
Although other locations throughout the county appeared to have scored equal to or better than the Saugus-area location, Camp Scott was still advanced onto the short list of possible future locations, alongside Campus Kilpatrick and Camps Joseph Paige and Afflerbaugh in La Verne.
“Their proposal clearly articulates a rationale for why Nidorf is a sound option,” Barger added. “It’s the right choice, which is why I’m placing this alternative motion on the table.”
Barger then went on to site a report from the L.A. County Probation Department dated Feb. 8 that stated the Nidorf facility in Sylmar would be an ideal location for the DJJ males, saying that the site could be reimagined to have “state-of-the-art” trauma and therapy programs, as well as provide “plenty of space” for 150 male offenders at a location centrally located to their families.
“There are renderings of reimagined spaces where therapeutic, educational and secure quarters would be located,” said Barger. “If the county is serious about its commitment to reimagining how juvenile offenders will be helped, we can start by approving Nidorf.”
The Monday meeting is expected to feature the City Council’s own objections to the selection of Camp Scott, a stance that the five-member council has held since the plans were first announced by the JJCC-JJRBG in May of last year. Local officials have said Camp Scott received the worst possible rank on the subcommittee’s scorecard for fire/flood danger.
Local residents in the Bouquet Canyon area have also expressed their concern that the facility was initially designed to house non-violent, low-level youth offenders and that the facility would need significant upgrades to its already existing security systems.
The special meeting for the Santa Clarita City Council and Barger is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. on Monday. The meeting is to be hosted in the Century Room at City Hall, and residents have been encouraged by county officials to attend and share their thoughts during the public participation portion.