Costly, nearly empty juvenile halls force Bay Area counties to consider closures

September 14, 2020

In addition, the governor is expected to sign legislation in the coming days that would phase out state youth prisons, with counties required to stop sending young people to the facilities starting next July and instead house them locally — likely in juvenile halls.

The roughly 800 people aged 16 to 25 currently in the youth prisons would continue to serve out their time there and wouldn’t be returned to the counties.

The idea, said state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who authored the measure, was to close the state facilities, giving local communities more flexibility to meet the needs of the youth closer to home.

“It’s just a handful (of juveniles) from each county,” Skinner said. “For the Bay Area, for example, we may need a single secure facility. If our counties were smart and they would come together, that would save them a lot of money and provide better support and programming for the kids.”

 

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