STATEMENT OF CONCERN RE: RE-PURPOSING OF THE JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITY (JDF)
submitted by People Power
- We acknowledge the happy problem that the capacity of the JDF far exceeds the demand for secure detention of Yolo County juveniles, and that the county’s ongoing operational costs for the facility are high.
- We know detained youth benefit from personal connections and support from family and community, and therefore access and proximity to these resources is fundamental to their continued well-being.
- The current situation places all genders of youth together, which has its risks, but also offers significant benefits, most notably:
- proximity to family and a very engaged community; and
- reduced exposure of our Yolo youth to influences, likely found in the Sacramento facility, of other incarcerated youth whose knowledge, experiences, and affiliations may encourage harmful impacts;
- no contact with adult prisoners.
- The current construction to expand and renovate the Yolo County adult jail facilities requires temporary relocation of the adult booking facility, during a construction period of an estimated 18-24 months.
- The current expansion and renovation will increase adult jail capacity to over 450 beds and improve medical and mental health services at the adult jail.
- During the past five years youth from under-resourced neighborhoods in Woodland, Knight’s Landing, and West Sacramento have been disproportionately represented among JDF admissions. Most impacted is the Broderick neighborhood of West Sacramento, which has suffered years under a gang injunction, lacks youth programs, and locks its school yards to the public when school is not in session;
THEREFORE, we respectfully request the board act to:
- Ensure any agreements to place Yolo youth in the Sacramento County JDF are restricted to not more than the time required to complete the Yolo County Jail construction.
- Provide transportation funding to family and encourage, through economic incentives, community support for visitation at Sacramento JDF during the construction period.
- Forgo additional expansion of Yolo County adult incarceration by transferring authority for use of the JDF to the Sheriff. Rather than expand jail capacity, we should seek alternatives to pre-adjudication detention, which currently accounts for a majority of the jail population.
- Preserve funding for youth. Reinvest cost savings into meaningful community engagement and youth development resources.
- Use this time-limited construction period to engage youth, their families, and the impacted communities to work with the Chief Probation Officer to develop recommendations for youth development and alternatives to juvenile detention options in Yolo County and to guide the community engagement process.