Barger calls for permanent closure of Camp Scudder

Community members held a protest against the use of Camp Joseph Scott as a permanent juvenile detention facility in front of the Camp Scott entrance in Saugus, Calif., on Friday, April 1, 2022. Many protestors said the facility is “too close for comfort” with it being located across the street from a Saugus neighborhood. Chris Torres/The Signal

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced Friday she is introducing a motion calling on the Board of Supervisors to permanently close Camp Scudder, which is adjacent to Camp Scott, where the county plans to house youth convicted of violent crimes. 

In a news release Friday, Barger, who represents the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, said the motion will be on the board’s Tuesday agenda. 

Barger said the decision to propose this motion was based on a feasibility report done by the Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Subcommittee in July 2021, which found that Scudder was not suitable to house Secure Track Youth.  

Camp Scudder was originally built in 1948, serving as a juvenile detention facility, but was closed in 2019 due to apparent issues with its structural integrity. 

Although the JJRBG “affirmed that there is opportunity to reevaluate bed capacity” and other ways that could make the site operable, it has deemed it as an “infeasible” location.  

“We must reduce the number of county sites that detain youth in environments that aren’t focused on rehabilitation,” Barger said in the news release. “Our board has made a commitment to support a ‘Care First’ vision for our youth. Let’s permanently close this site, which cannot deliver on that promise.” 

The feasibility report did, however, list neighboring Camp Scott as among the most feasible with the reasons being that it is “vacant, but not completely closed; has ample space; has individual units that can be repurposed for solo living that is more appropriate for older adults; and exists with some proximity to various programs and services.” 

Helen Chavez, communication director for Barger, said that if Camp Scudder is not fit for housing juvenile convicts, “What would be the argument for Camp Scott?” 

“I think the supervisor is very clear in that she’s trying to align with the vision of the board,” said Chavez. Chavez also said that she doesn’t see “how the board wouldn’t agree” that if Camp Scudder is unfit for this purpose, that neighboring Camp Scott wouldn’t also be. 

“I think there’s a lot of facts line up that the board would support,” said Chavez.   

Chavez said Barger is confident that the board will vote to pass her motion next week, but that “only Tuesday will tell.”

Related Article: Protesters gather at Camp Scott as site inspections begin

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