B. T. Collins Juvenile Hall
On November 23, 1998, the 1998-1999 Sacramento County Grand Jury toured B. T. Collins Juvenile Hall, located at 9601 Kiefer Blvd., Sacramento.
The B.T. Collins Juvenile Hall (the Hall), constructed in 1960, is located on 25 acres. It houses both male and female wards ages nine to 19.
Approximately 6,000 to 8,000 wards are processed at the Hall each year. The facility has 255 beds, but the Grand Jury was informed there are plans to add an additional 90. The ward population was 293 on the day of the Grand Jury's visit. The Hall is a temporary detention facility with an average stay of 14 days, but wards can be incarcerated there for up to two years. Each arrested ward has a detention hearing within 48 to 72 hours of being booked. The disposition of each ward is ultimately determined by Juvenile Court. Charges against the wards can be dismissed; alternatively, the wards can be released to parental custody, detained at home with ankle monitors, placed on probation, or assigned to work projects. Other outcomes include detention at the following facilities:
· Carson Creek Boys Ranch
· Warren E. Thornton Youth Center
· William K. Morgan Alternative Center
At the time of its tour, the Grand Jury learned that two classification officers had been recently added to staff. A classification officer determines the wards' needs within the Hall and can influence the ultimate sentencing.
The Grand Jury was told the cost to support a ward at the Hall is approximately $32,000 a year. Approximately one-third of all wards were arrested for violent crimes and two-thirds for property offenses; nine percent of the wards were incarcerated for homicide. The Grand Jury was informed that girls are being arrested more frequently, creating a need for more female housing.
The Grand Jury was told that the Sacramento County Office of Education operates El Centro Junior/Senior High, a fully-staffed school, onsite with 16 certificated teachers for wards who are detained for an extended period of time. School attendance is mandatory. School is conducted 244 days a year and the state provides $6,000 per ward per year -- almost twice that provided per student in the public schools. Each class has about 15 students. Sixty percent of the wards attending this school are from Sacramento City Unified School District. At the time of the Grand Jury's tour, the annual school budget was $3 million. Student literacy is the school's number-one priority; one-third of the wards function at 6th grade level or below. High-school-age wards usually have only 30 to 35 academic credits at the time of entrance (210 are needed for a diploma).
At the time of the Grand Jury's visit, El Centro was conducting a pilot program to provide an individual learning plan for each ward. If this pilot program were approved, a computer diskette with the individual's plan and recorded progress while at the Hall would go with each ward to other institutions, eliminating retesting.
Health assessments for incoming wards are done at the medical clinic by the Hall's medical clinic personnel who perform vision exams, pregnancy tests, hearing tests and dental services. Upon arrival, wards are tested for tuberculosis and provided education on sexually transmitted diseases. This facility also provides daily medical services to wards from Carson Creek Boys Ranch, Warren E. Thornton Youth Center, and William K. Morgan Alternative Center. A physician is on-site Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is on-call at other times. The medical clinic, which has four infirmary rooms with reverse airflow and an X-ray room, handles approximately 40 patients daily. The clinic also has security cameras and computerized record-keeping.
At the time of its tour the Grand Jury observed that:
· The switchboard/control equipment is outdated and does not meet the staff needs. The Grand Jury was told that a new system had been requested and would be available in February 1999
· The medical clinic appeared to be adequately staffed to meet the wards' physical and mental health needs
Findings and Recommendations
Finding # 1: The Grand Jury found that the Hall's kitchen area was not clean. County employees preparing the noon meal at the time of the Grand Jury's visit did not meet the required health standard of wearing protective hair coverings.
Air from visibly dirty wall vents was blowing directly onto food as it was being prepared. Kitchen paint was chipped and peeling, wall tiles were chipped, and exhaust vents over the stoves were dirty. The blades of free-standing fans in the kitchen were filthy. There were no paper towels in the men's room near the kitchen. Some non-skid floor tiles had been inserted in the kitchen floor at the time of a plumbing repair, thus making the floor's surface inconsistent and unsafe. Staff members told the Grand Jury that kitchen employees have slipped and fallen on the kitchen floor.
Recommendation #1: Clean the kitchen! Use wards for labor. The Grand Jury wants to see a repair/maintenance schedule addressing the problems it has noted here, explaining what corrective actions will be undertaken.
Finding #2: The Grand Jury was told that Hall personnel conduct strip-searches to control contraband and drugs, and that more searching and checking is done at the B. T. Collins Juvenile Hall than at any other correctional facility in Sacramento County. The Grand Jury was informed that the Hall is developing new policies to reduce these invasive procedures, as the current policy is very time-consuming and has potential legal implications.
Recommendation #2: The Grand Jury requests a copy of the alternatives being considered and any resulting policy changes regarding strip searches.
A Response is Required
The California Penal Code requires the Sacramento County Probation Department to respond in writing to the Grand Jury's recommendations contained in this report, and to submit its responses to the presiding judge of the Sacramento Superior Court by September 30, 1999.
Did You Know . . .
Due to some wards having allergies, which could result in anaphylactic shock if they eat peanut products, B. T. Collins Juvenile Hall has eliminated serving peanut butter and other peanut products.