L.A. Board of Supes to Explore Expanding Therapeutic Model at Juvenile Camps

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will explore the possibility of remodeling one of its juvenile detention camps in order to emphasize a therapeutic model of rehabilitation.

At its meeting today, the board asked Interim Chief Probation Officer Cal Remington, Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Sachi Hamai and the Department of Public Works to submit a report that would outline the costs of transforming Camp Joseph Scott into a place that “embodies a culture of care to enhance therapeutic opportunities for youth and improve their future.”

Located in the Santa Clarita Valley, Camp Scott provides houses for about 40 girls and women in a dormitory-style setting. The Probation Department runs three juvenile halls and 14 juvenile camps in Los Angeles County. About 1,200 youth are detained in the camps and halls.

In a motion put forward by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Michael Antonovich, the supervisors want to assess the costs of building a small-group therapeutic setting for the girls and young women at Camp Scott as well as possible funding opportunities.

“Girls and young women who are under Probation Department oversight should have equal access to the same small group therapeutic model and other benefits available to boys and young men at Campus Kilpatrick,” according to the motion.

The therapeutic model would be based on similar efforts made by Los Angeles County for its planned Vernon Kilpatrick Replacement Project. Over the past few years, the county has invested $52.5 million to dramatically change the design of the juvenile camp located in Malibu.

In 2014, the county demolished buildings at the aging Camp Kilpatrick and began building a new campus on the site. Slated to open in April 2017, the new Kilpatrick project will replace barracks-style housing in a penitentiary setting with smaller, stand-alone cottages for 120 youth. Each of the cottages will house 12 youth and will include amenities like laundry, recreational areas and counseling rooms.

The work on the Kilpatrick campus has been dubbed the “L.A. Model,” an approach to juvenile-justice rehabilitation based on successful efforts at changing detention programs in Missouri. The Missouri Model favors small facilities located in community settings and the use of a therapeutic model.

At the proposed Kilpatrick site, the county is hoping to incorporate many practices from Missouri and other programs from around the country that they hope will reduce recidivism and improve access to educational, health and mental health resources.

A report is due back to the Board of Supervisors later this year.

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Jeremy Loudenback, Senior Editor, The Chronicle of Social Change
About Jeremy Loudenback, Senior Editor, The Chronicle of Social Change 352 Articles
Jeremy is a West Coast-based senior editor for The Chronicle of Social Change. Reach him at jeremyloudenback@chronicleofsocialchange.org.