Thursday, June 29, 2017
[Napa County] Juvenile Hall needs to upgrade surveillance equipment, grand jury reports
The Napa County Juvenile Hall is clean, well-maintained, and adequately staffed, but its surveillance equipment still isn’t up to date despite recommendations made by three grand juries, according to a report recently released by the 2016-2017 Napa County Grand Jury.
The grand jury is required to physically inspect all jail and detention facilities in the county, including the juvenile hall, which removes young offenders from the community while also offering rehabilitation and educational services. In addition to inspecting the facilities, the grand jury interviewed management, staff and detainees.
Last year, the juvenile hall agreed to update technology used for surveillance by Dec. 31, 2016, the grand jury said. That work, however, is only 75 percent complete, the grand jury said.
Cameras at the facility on Old Sonoma Road have been outdated and not strategically positioned for more than two years, which is “unacceptable,” asserted the grand jury.
The grand jury recommended that in order to ensure safety and security at the juvenile hall, the full installation of video cameras and security surveillance equipment be completed by Oct. 1.
The failure to make changes related to video surveillance was the only criticism the juvenile hall received by the 2015-2016 Napa County Grand Jury.
The grand jury reported no other major problems at the facility and said that juvenile hall staff “strives to find appropriate rehabilitation options for mentally ill youth in lieu of incarceration.” The majority of youth entering Napa County Juvenile Hall have mental health problems and substance abuse issues, the grand jury said.
Napa County does not comment on grand jury reports until the Board of Supervisors has had a chance to review and respond within 90 days, said Napa County Public Information Officer Kristi Jourdan on Tuesday.
The juvenile hall, which was designed to accommodate up to 60 detainees and is staffed for 50, had a fluctuating population of between 16 to 24 youths a day ranging from age 14 to age 17, the grand jury said. The average length of incarceration is 25 days, but youths waiting for residential treatment placement stay at the facility for an average of 55 days, the jury said.
There were 14 boys and three girls in the facility during the last variable daily census count, according to the grand jury’s report.
During fiscal year 2015-2016, 88 percent of detainees received mental health services – a 6 percent increase compared to the 2014-2015 fiscal year, according to the grand jury report.
Detainees have access to mental health counseling and psychiatric services in addition to daily academic study and physical exercise, the jury said. At the time of the grand jury’s inspection of the juvenile hall, cells were clean, the interior of the building was clean and well-maintained, and all health and fire inspections were current.
The Napa County Juvenile Hall’s recidivism rate is 20 percent, the grand jury said, meaning that the majority of youth are not booked on new crimes while on probationary periods after release.
Some detainees, however, reported having as many as eight violation detentions, the grand jury said, creating a “merry-go-round” effect.
The grand jury requested responses from the Napa County Board of Supervisors and Chief Probation Officer Mary Butler.
June 27, 2017
Napa Valley Register
By Maria Sestito