Taking to the streets only a few miles from where the site is located, a group of a few dozen local residents held a protest Tuesday night in opposition to the reopening of Camp Scott as the future site for L.A. County’s violent youth offenders.
Those in attendance stated their purpose was to spread awareness about the county’s recently approved plan and explain that the homeowners were concerned for the safety of their families, as well as the security of the entire Santa Clarita community.
“It’s 2 miles from Saugus High School, very close to Plum Canyon (Elementary School), and a whole new housing development is going in there,” said Sue Fischer, a Bouquet Canyon resident and one of the organizers for the event. “We’re trying to let the rest of the Santa Clarita Valley know this is a danger to all of us.”
Following nearly a year of back and forth with the county, residents and local government officials were informed last month that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors had approved the relocation of more than 140 male offenders to Camp Scott as part of the county’s Youth Justice Reimagined plan.
Those scheduled to be housed at Camp Scott are slated to be those that have already been tried and convicted of heinous acts, including everything from assault to rape to even murder.
Although officials have said they plan on bolstering the camp’s security systems and dilapidated infrastructure, residents are still arguing that it won’t be enough to ensure the safety of a camp that was originally designed and used to house low-level offenders.
“It’s not a maximum-security prison, but they’re talking about fences,” said Diane Brown, another resident in attendance at the demonstration, later adding: “There needs to be help (for the youth offenders), but I think to do so around schools, the community, the parks, and bring in hardened gangbangers and the other friends that will come up (for visitation)…it’s just not the right place.”
Brown said she has been a longtime resident near Camp Scott, but it wasn’t until last week that she learned of the year-long debate over whether to bring the Department of Juvenile Justice’s male population to the Bouquet Canyon Road site. But after learning about the Board of Supervisors’ decision, she decided to bring her son and husband along with her Tuesday night to spread awareness on the issue.
The protest was similar to the one the same group conducted two weeks ago outside of Camp Scott that coincided with the inspection of the site by representatives from the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
And, much like the Santa Clarita City Council, which recently announced they would be filing a lawsuit against the county over this issue, Fisher said the group will continue to fight against the decision to reopen Camp Scott.