Sacramento probation officials have proposed shutting down their two main youth jails for convicted juvenile offenders, a budget move that carries potentially drastic implications for public safety, reports the Sacramento Bee. The proposal to close the facilities is part of a $37.4 million cost-saving measure that also includes a proposal to eliminate 247 jobs.
Laid out in response to the county’s projected $187 million budget deficit for the next fiscal year, the proposals would eliminate the lockups that have been used for decades to house tough and troubled youths who haven’t quite qualified for state juvenile custody. An untold number of burglars, car thieves, snatch-and-grab robbers, drug dealers and youths arrested for carrying knives and other weapons to school would be returned to their neighborhoods without paying the full incarceration consequences of their crimes under the terms of the probation proposal. “If it happens, it will be devastating,” said Presiding Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth Peterson.