Northern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic
On September 28 and December 10, 1998, the 1998-1999 Sacramento County Grand Jury toured the Northern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic (NYCRCC), located at 3001 Ramona Ave., Sacramento.
The Grand Jury learned that the NYCRCC is responsible for handling evaluations of incoming youth offenders from Kern County to the Oregon border. The courts have committed these youth offenders to the state's Department of the Youth Authority. The average age of the youth offenders at intake is 16.5 years and the maximum age at release is 25 years.
The facility, established in 1954, is located on 23 acres and consists of five lodges. Each lodge has 50 cells and is staffed with youth correctional officers, a casework specialist, and a sergeant. NYCRCC currently houses approximately 450 wards.
The Grand Jury was told that each ward undergoes psychological, social, medical, dental, and educational evaluations. The evaluations take approximately 28 days, after which the wards appear before a Youthful Offender Parole Board for a parole consideration date. The wards are then transferred to one of the nine Youth Authority correctional facilities, or one of the four mountain conservation camps.
There are two long-term treatment programs at NYCRCC: the Wintu Intensive Treatment Program for emotionally disturbed wards, and the Comanche Lodge, which is a work program.
In the Wintu program, wards are treated for psychological illness and undergo behavior modification. The wards set goals, undergo therapy, and work toward high school and college credits.
NYCRCC has an educational program in which wards can earn their high school diplomas or General Education Development (GED) certificates. The Grand Jury was informed that approximately 76 percent of the wards were not attending school at the time of intake and the average length of time out of school was two years. The California Youth Authority places a high emphasis on education with its "no diploma, no parole" policy; all wards attend the NYCRCC's Madelyn Nagazyna High School. Approximately 25 to 30 percent of the wards are in special education programs.
The NYCRCC tactical team is trained to handle major emergencies, riots, large disturbances and medical transports. The tactical team also focuses on the recovery of escaped wards. The Grand Jury was informed that the last escape was in March 1997.
The Grand Jury found that the NYCRCC has an excellent employee safety monitoring system. Employees must log in when they arrive and when they leave. If an employee does not check out by a certain time, staff is dispatched to ascertain the employee's whereabouts. The employees also carry emergency alarm systems on their persons; with a push of a button they can alert other employees if they need assistance. Both safety systems appear to be appropriately managed and effective. Overall, security at the facility appeared to be adequate.
The Grand Jury found the medical facility well managed but learned that some of its equipment needed to be upgraded.
The Grand Jury observed during its visit that the wards assigned to the work program appeared underemployed. The ground maintenance crew had active projects; however, the general maintenance crew was idle.
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