CONTRA COSTA COUNTY GRAND JURY
1999-2000

REPORT NO. 0003

Juvenile Detention Facilities

BACKGROUND

Under the California Penal Code Section 919(b), the Contra Costa County Grand Jury is required to inspect and observe the conditions and management of the Contra Costa County detention facilities. The Probation Department of Contra Costa County manages two juvenile detention facilities: Juvenile Hall in Martinez and the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility (The Boys Ranch) in Byron. The Boyís Ranch was visited by the Grand Jury in 1999 and again in early 2000.

The Probation Department also has two juvenile residential treatment centers that house juveniles with severe emotional and behavioral problems. The Summit Facility for Boys is located in an older building adjacent to Juvenile Hall and houses 20 male juveniles. The Chris Adams Center for Girls (opened in December 1999) has the capacity to house 20 residential juveniles, with an additional 15 for day treatment. The Grand Jury has inspected each facility, met with the staff and reviewed the required annual state inspection reports for compliance.

JUVENILE HALL - FINDINGS

1. The daily number of juveniles in residence often exceeds the authorized capacity of 160 youths by as many as 30.

2. At night, the overflow population is housed in the recreation room, sleeping on the floor in portable fiberglass "canoe-like" beds.

3. By mid-2000, the Tamalpais dormitory construction project will add 10 more beds, but not enough to reduce the overcrowding.

4. The required State fire inspection was not performed in 1999.

5. In the event of a fire, some of the sleeping areas require up to seven doors to be manually unlocked in order to release the juveniles.

6. The 1998 inspection report by the State Fire Marshall indicated that fire drills are performed, but not always recorded. The Hallís records indicate that during 1999 there were eight fire drills.

7. Funds have been allocated for the building of a new juvenile detention facility and construction is expected to begin in November of 2000 with completion set for mid-2003.

8. There is a continuing problem of attracting and maintaining qualified staff. Overtime in 1999 was $535,350 because of staff shortages.

9. Juvenile Hall is an aging facility with over fifty years of service but the Hall is clean and well maintained.

JUVENILE HALL - RECOMMENDATIONS

The 1999-2000 Contra Costa County Grand Jury makes the following recommendations:

1. The staff at Juvenile Hall needs to make fire safety a top priority and to pursue the State Fire inspectors to make annual visitations.

2. Due to the aging and overcrowding of this facility, fire drills need to be conducted monthly and recorded.

3. The Probation Department needs to increase recruitment of staff to help decrease overtime costs.

THE BOYS RANCH - FINDINGS

1. All of the required inspection reports were reviewed for compliance and were found to be current with the exception of an overdue State Fire Marshalís report.

2. Two dormitories house up to 100 youths and the older one has no air conditioning.

3. The small kitchen has a residential type freezer.

4. The furniture and equipment in the older dormitory is at the end of its life.

5. The parking lot is in disrepair.

BOYS RANCH - CONCLUSIONS

1. The lack of air conditioning in the old dormitory makes living conditions extremely difficult during the hot summer months.

2. The Boys Ranch facility has inadequate freezer units.

BOYS RANCH - RECOMMENDATIONS

The 1999-2000 Contra Costa County Grand Jury makes the following recommendations:

1. Replace worn and outdated furniture and equipment.

2. Install air conditioning equipment in the old dormitory.

3. Repave the parking lot.

THE CHRIS ADAMS GIRLS CENTER - FINDINGS

1. The Center is clean and well maintained.

2. The single classroom is large and open-spaced with ample room for the students.

3. The recreation room lacks furniture, a television and other equipment, which would make the Centerís environment more habitable and home-like.

THE CHRIS ADAMS GIRLS CENTER - RECOMMENDATION

The 1999-2000 Contra Costa County Grand Jury makes the following recommendation:

That the Center purchase furniture, a television and other amenities.

THE SUMMIT BOYS CENTER - FINDINGS

1. The Centerís furniture is worn and in disrepair.

2. The interior of the facility is worn.

THE SUMMIT BOYS CENTER - RECOMMENDATION

The 1999-2000 Contra Costa County Grand Jury makes the following recommendation:

Replace furniture and equipment that is in disrepair.

THE SUMMIT BOYS CENTER - COMMENT

The staff should be commended for functioning smoothly in an outdated facility.

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