The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to keep Camp Scudder open, a move that brought the ire of 5th District County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley.
In a 2-3 vote held during their regular meeting on Tuesday, with Supervisors Hilda Solis, Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl voting to oppose it, a motion authored by Barger to close Camp Kenyon Scudder in Saugus was shot down. Supervisor Janice Hahn supported Barger’s motion.
The camp, which has been closed since 2019, sits near the site of Camp Scott on Bouquet Canyon Road, which was chosen last month as the site to permanently house the county’s violent, male youth population at a later date.
The motion states that Camp Scudder has required financial investment from the County of L.A. to ensure its structural integrity and it was determined to be “non-feasible” by the Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant subcommittee to serve as a Secure Youth Track Facility.
“My motion proposed permanent closure of an already closed juvenile camp since a recent study found it non-feasible for use due to not meeting current standards for housing youth in a homelike and therapeutic environment,” Barger said in a statement issued after the vote. “It is an unnecessary cost to Los Angeles County taxpayers.
“As a board, we’ve articulated a commitment to embracing a ‘Care First, Jails Last’ approach to rehabilitate youth involved with the juvenile justice system in our county,” Barger added. “Truly committing to that reform philosophy also means closing camps built when a different, punitive approach was in place.”
Barger called the vote a demonstration of the board’s lack of consistency and follow-through on policies her fellow supervisors say are backed by science and best practices.
“To make meaningful change, our board cannot speak out of both sides of its mouth,” Barger said.
On Friday, approximately 35 people gathered at the entrance of Camp Scott in Saugus to protest L.A. County’s plan to use Camp Scott to house about 150 juveniles convicted of violent crimes.
The protest was held to coincide with the inspection of the site by representatives from the Los Angeles County Probation Department, who arrived and left but did not acknowledge the protesters. The inspection was done to determine the extent of renovations needed to reopen the camp.