The California Penal Code Section 919(b) requires the Grand Jury to "inquire into the condition and management of the public prisons within the county." As a result of this mandate, the Grand Jury has investigated the St. Vincent's Residential Treatment Facility and the Los Prietos Boys' Camp.
The objective is to ascertain if the facilities meet their statutorily required functions in a
satisfactory manner and, if not, to recommend improvements.
Grand Jury members made visits to the two facilities both announced and unannounced. Interviews were conducted with the Director of the Los Prietos and the Director of St. Vincent's.
St. Vincent's Residential Treatment Facility
St. Vincent's is a facility in the South County operated by the Catholic Church. It was originally established for orphans and later provided service for those with special needs.
Under contractual arrangements between St. Vincent's and the County of Santa Barbara a detention center for non-violent juvenile females was established recently by a cooperative effort of several County agencies. The Grand Jury visited the facility and found it to be impressive. There are spacious home-like cottages, a swimming pool and several recreation areas. In this setting the juveniles are required to maintain the cleanliness of the premises and to prepare their own food.
The contract with the County Probation Department originally authorized twelve detainees which has now been increased to eighteen. They receive classroom instruction provided by the County School District. They may earn by proper behavior: telephone privileges, leave time, and freedom to enjoy off-campus activities. Family participation in their rehabilitation is encouraged.
The staff includes a licensed psychologist, resident supervisors and a day nurse. The program is geared primarily to sociological orientation and behavioral modification. Although it is
operated by the Catholic Church the Grand Jury was assured that the staff did not press the juveniles to convert to Catholicism or even to attend church services. Religious services are, however, arranged for any juvenile who expresses a desire to attend, in whatever faith desired.
The cost of the program is about $4,423 per month per girl. Approximately fifty percent is paid by the Federal government under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, thirty percent by the State and twenty percent by the County. These costs are adjustable according to a family's gross income.
Los Prietos Boys' Camp
Los Prietos is a minimum security camp with a capacity of fifty-six males and is designed for the rehabilitation of boys ages thirteen to eighteen who have been classified as "mid-level delinquents." The camp is under the direction of the Santa Barbara County Probation Department.
The facility is located in a rural setting in the Los Padres National Forest pursuant to a lease between Santa Barbara County and the U.S. Park Service. The juveniles are primarily from Santa Barbara County although some are accepted from San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz Counties through a contractual arrangement.
The physical plant currently being used, with the exception of the school building and dormitory, is approximately fifty years old. A new administration building, dining hall and kitchen, and laundry facility are currently under construction and expected to be in use by June, 1995.
The camp provides thirteen programs for the rehabilitation of the juveniles, including a forestry program, and behavioral and psychological programs. Each juvenile is required to attend school five days a week for six hours per day under a program operated by the Santa Barbara County School District.
The medical facility consists of a two-bed infirmary. There is a nurse on duty five afternoons each week and a doctor is available one day a week. For emergencies the camp relies on standard emergency medical service.
Food service is provided by three employed cooks who are assisted by six juveniles. Three meals are prepared daily and appear to meet the nutritional requirements of the juveniles.
The facility is staffed on a twenty-four hour basis by a total of seventeen employees, or one staff member for each seventeen juveniles.
The cost of the operation is approximately $3,000 per month for each juvenile of which $1,600 is paid by the County and the balance is covered by Federal Government Social Security funds. By comparison, similar costs at the Juvenile Hall are approximately $4,000 per month.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
FINDING #1: The Grand Jury found the St. Vincent's program to be a positive approach to the problems of juvenile females with societal problems.
RECOMMENDATION #1: The Santa Barbara Probation Department should continue the program and, if feasible, expand it.
FINDING #2: The Grand Jury found the over-all program at Los Prietos Boys' Camp to be positive in nature.
RECOMMENDATION #2: The Santa Barbara Probation Department should continue this program.
AFFECTED AGENCIES (California Penal Code Section 933(c) requires that comments to Findings and Recommendations be made in writing within 60 days by all affected agencies except governing bodies, which are allowed 90 days.)
1. Santa Barbara Probation Department- response