The county watchdog on Tuesday voted to begin implementation of the Youth Development Academy at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Center by 2023.
The action follows Senate Bill 823, which transfers state responsibility to county probation services for long-term custody of young people up to the age of 25.
As part of the plan, the San Diego County Probation Department, County Behavioral Health Services and a contractor will provide more intensive, longer-term rehabilitation services to youth in custody who have committed the most serious offenses. and the most violent.
âThis means that the training, treatment and daily schedules of our staff will change for an older population and spend more time in custody than we have experienced before. What will not change is our commitment to treat these young people as teenagers, not adults, because adolescent brain science tells us that brains don’t finish developing until their mid-twenties, â said acting probation director Cesar Escuro. âWe have one last unique opportunity to support youth involved in justice by providing them with clinical support, education and career development services that can help them exit the justice system permanently and thrive. “
The program will include professional and academic support services, positive youth development programs, behavioral health treatment programs, reintegration support, and support for families to participate in care. Long-term needs for post-secondary academic and career development services would also be identified for youth in the program. The youth will be at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Center in two residential units, which will be renovated to be more like home for longer use.
Currently, the state’s Juvenile Justice Division is caring for these young people under another program separate from the adult population and which will end in 2023. The program typically has 50 to 55 young people in this program while over the course of a year.
During this decade, San Diego County probation has transformed its approach to youth involved in the justice system. To accomplish this, Probation has improved its prevention, early intervention and diversion strategies by including more direct mental health and trauma services, deepening collaboration with school districts, and meeting the needs of the whole family.
The positive results of this situation are an almost 70% reduction in the juvenile custody population on probation and a 75% reduction in those under community supervision over the past seven years.