San Bernardino Lacks a Camp System for Juvenile Offenders
The San Bernardino County juvenile court system has relatively few options for where to place minors who are deemed to need detention time. Most are ordered to spend time in the San Bernardino Central Juvenile Hall or the West Valley Juvenile Hall. Serious offenders get transferred to the California Youth Authority (CYA)—essentially a state-run prison for minors.
Los Angeles County, by contrast, operates a series of “camps” for young offenders that function as a middle ground between the halls and CYA. Minors get ordered to camp for 3 months to a year. Counseling, schooling, drug rehab and even career-training are provided. The purpose of the camps is entirely rehabilitative…to take the minor away from problems in the home and on the street, and try to instill in him or her purpose and responsibility.
Because San Bernardino County lacks a camp system, juvenile courts there are more prone to order one of the two main alternatives: send the child “home on probation,” or the nuclear bomb: CYA. This can be unfortunate for less serious offenders who could benefit from the seclusion and programming of a camp stay. It can also be unfortunate for the more serious juvenile offender who needs detention, but less than the extreme measure of CYA.