Nevada County Juvenile Hall transformation still in early stages
Nevada County has approved contracts with five counties to host juvenile wards at the Carl F. Bryan II Juvenile Hall.
The move is part of a five-year process aimed at transforming the juvenile hall — suffering from high costs and low intake — into an expanded youth facility that could see more use by community organizations as the rate of juvenile offenders continues to decline.
According to a Public Policy Institute of California report, juvenile arrests rates have been in decline statewide since 2007.
The agreements, approved Tuesday with Lassen, Inyo, Calaveras, Amador and El Dorado counties, charge $125 per bed-day used, which officials estimate will bring in $100,000 annually.
Last year, a county working group decided on the plan to expand juvenile services after finding earlier recommendations by the Nevada County Grand Jury in 2013 and 2016 to shut down the facility not financially feasible. The group also looked into uses for homeless or mental health services, but due to the funding with which the hall was built, it is required to be used for criminal justice purposes.
According to a grand jury report this year, the cost for maintaining the hall will be just under $2.5 million, which doesn’t include expanded programs or other changes. Those will be recognized in next year’s budget.
County officials last year estimated contracting with other counties and local youth organizations could generate about $1 million in revenue, which made it an appealing option compared to the logistical challenges that would come with shutting the hall down, according to Chief Probation Officer Mike Ertola.
The plan anticipated the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools would show interest in the Earle Jamieson and Sugarloaf Mountain educational opportunities to move into juvenile hall, which the May grand jury report describes as ongoing.
While the county is still early into the five-year transition process, without funding sources from youth organizations it’s unclear how the plan would compare with previous recommendations to shut down the facility.
During the meeting the county also approved a contract agreement with Placer County for weekend booking and jail services, for just under $500,000 for the year.
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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