City Council to discuss camp lawsuit in closed session 

Sign on Bouquet Canyon Road for Camp Scudder and Camp Scott. 062421. Dan Watson/The Signal

L.A. County officials confirmed Friday there’s been no formal change to the motion approved by the Board of Supervisors last March titled “Adopting a Global Plan for the Probation Department’s Halls and Camps.” 

But city of Santa Clarita officials also said Friday the situation is still one they’re watching closely. 

While there may be no change in plans, county officials were not able to confirm Friday whether two facilities, which figure importantly in L.A. County’s need to realign its juvenile justice system in accordance with state law, have been cleared for usage.  

The city’s concerns actually began in October 2021, when Camp Scott was placed on a short list of potential future sites for the county’s violent youth offenders, which was then approved as a site by the county in March 2022

The city sued in April 2022, claiming the work needed to make the former girls camp on Bouquet Canyon Road suitable for its new population — which was estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars — should not be exempt from the state’s laws regarding environmental review. That lawsuit is still active. 

After learning in August 2022 the plan to renovate the closed Saugus camp could take up to five years, the committee that put Scott on the short list sought other alternatives. 

That’s when Los Padrinos, in Downey, entered the discussion as a possible alternative. 

Ultimately in March 2023, the county announced it was dropping its plan to house violent male youth offenders at the camp southeast of David Way at 28700 Bouquet Canyon Road. 

That plan by the Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Committee, a group tasked under  Senate Bill 823 with recommendations for transforming the state’s Juvenile Justice Division,  

calls for the Probation Department to “renovate Camp Scott to end the temporary use of Dorothy Kirby Center, return young women and girls from Dorothy Kirby Center to Camp Scott and operate Camp Scott as the one county detention facility for all girls.”  

It also splits all male offenders between the Barry J. Nidorf facility in Sylmar and the Campus Kilpatrick facility in Malibu. 

However, more recently, in August, two facilities were deemed noncompliant with California standards.   

In October, Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall was given 90 days and a corrective action plan with deadlines that stretched into the first week of January. 

In November, Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey was ordered to undertake corrective actions in response to a second escapee since the facility’s reopening in July. Media outlets reported earlier this week the facility was adding razor wire in response. 

The Board of State and Community Corrections Corrective Action Plan issued to Nidorf in October was lengthy, noting problems with officer training as well as youth safety, due to issues like staffing concerns, as well as basic questions about its function. 
“The facility continues to operate with no contemporary behavior management process or disciplinary process for negative behavior including assaultive behavior,” according to the report. “Some shifts were minimally staffed. Staff are routinely held over with no notice to cover shifts and report they continue to be exhausted as a result,” which contributed to the safety issues. “It was also reported by some youth that they are urinating in receptacles in their rooms due to lack of staff.” 

Neither city nor county officials could confirm Friday whether the required inspections have been performed to make sure both facilities are now in compliance with state standards. 

On Thursday, legal counsel for the city of Santa Clarita filed a joint stipulation that both sides now have until Feb. 12 to complete their respective administrative records. A trial-setting conference has been scheduled for March 21, indicating that both sides are preparing for the possibility the lawsuit could proceed. 

City officials would not formally comment on the discussion expected to happen in closed session because it involves ongoing litigation.  

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