Before a packed house at Santa Clarita City Hall on Monday, Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she will be “locked and loaded” when going into Tuesday’s L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss Camp Scott as the possible future housing location for the county’s most violent youth population.
Barger stated Monday morning that the upcoming agenda item regarding the future of Camp Scott, located on Bouquet Canyon Road, was an example of the county “playing politics with the lives of these children,” and said she would be expressing her belief that the secure youth treatment facility for the Department of Juvenile Justice male youth population should be Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar.
“Tomorrow, make no mistake, the gloves are off,” Barger said during the joint meeting with the Santa Clarita City Council. “When you’ve got motions coming in and the (Probation Department) hasn’t even been consulted, what does that tell you about what this board is doing? This board is ramming it down the throats of the department, and quite frankly, the community.”
Tuesday’s L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting will be a critical moment in the yearlong debate over the permanent housing location for the DJJ youth population.
In May of last year, the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council-Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Subcommittee announced that Camp Scott was the recommended housing site for approximately 150 youth juveniles convicted of crimes such as assault, rape and even murder, among other severe charges.
After opposition to the plan from local residents and politicians — the Santa Clarita City Council voting unanimously last year to oppose Camp Scott for this purpose — the JJCC-JJRBG said it would complete “scorecards” for other sites around the county.
Ultimately, while Camp Scott received scores equal to or even worse than other sites, scoring the worst possible in the fire/flood danger category, the Bouquet Canyon camp, along with a handful of others were placed late last year on a short list for future sites.
The motion before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, following months of continued debate and community town halls, would instruct “further exploration of the potential future identification of Campus Kilpatrick (in Malibu) and Camp Scott as the permanent secure youth track facility locations for male youth.”
On Friday, in response to the agenda item becoming public a day earlier, Barger announced a counter motion to the one proposed by Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl, arguing that Nidorf should be selected as the future site based on recommendations made by the Probation Department in a report filed earlier this year.
“(The Probation Department’s) recommendation was to house these individuals (at Barry J. Nidorf) because they’re estimating up to 150 (detainees),” Barger said on Monday, referencing the Probation Department’s Nidorf recommendation that was submitted to the Board of Supervisors last month. “But this board, playing politics, has decided not to do it.”
Barger said, before the packed Century Room in City Hall, that Nidorf would be a better solution than Camp Scott based on the youth’s safety, location, the safety of personnel and the capacity to hold such a population. She added that her counter motion and support for Nidorf as opposed to Camp Scott was not about concerns over the population being in her district, but rather their placement at an inferior facility when better options were available.
“Given the deals being cut, and given what’s on the ‘green sheet,’ which is (released) 72 hours before the board meeting, I can tell that deals have been cut to close the central juvenile hall,” said Barger. “But I believe if you do what’s right, the politics work themselves out. And I promise you all here today, I will do what’s right; I will vote my conscience.”
The virtual regular meeting for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. Those wishing to view the meeting may visit bos.lacounty.gov/Board-Meeting/Live-Broadcast.
For more information on how to make a public comment or submit a written one, visit the L.A. County Board of Supervisors’ website at bos.lacounty.gov/Board-Meeting/Board-Agendas.