Los Angeles County DJJ Transition Plan and Camp Joseph Scott



Camp Scott Will Not House Juvenile Serious Offenders

            On March 21, 2023, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion adopting a plan for the County Probation Department’s halls and camps, specifically as it relates to establishing Secure Youth Treatment Facilities following the transfer of juvenile serious offenders from state to county custody. The motion by Supervisors Lindsey P. Horvath and Janice Hahn directs the county’s Probation Department to develop a long-term plan that, among other things, will result in Camp Scott being the only county detention facility for all girls, young women and gender-expansive youth non-serious offenders. The motion also calls for a plan to make renovations to Camp Scott.

            Camp Scott, which is located in the City of Santa Clarita on property owned by the County, was temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and had its all-girls population transferred to Dorothy Kirby Center in Commerce. The motion will reactivate Camp Scott in a way that is consistent with the historical use of the site. There is no plan to reopen Camp Scudder, which is located on the same property and was closed by the county in 2019 due to issues related to its structural vulnerability.

             Though the Board of Supervisors voted to approve Camp Scott as a permanent location for juvenile male serious offenders in March 2022, Tuesday’s vote instead directs the Probation Department to designate a portion of Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar and Campus Kilpatrick in Malibu to house juvenile male serious offenders. Dorothy Kirby Center is designated to permanently serve juvenile female serious offenders. 

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State Level

In September 2020, Senate Bill 823 (Chapter 337, Statutes 2020) was signed by Governor Newsom. It started the process of closing the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and legally shifted the responsibility of housing, treating, and supervising DJJ youth to county probation departments.

The DJJ population consists of individuals, between the ages of 12 years old and 25 years old, who have committed a Serious Juvenile Offense, as listed in the State’s Welfare and Institutions Code 707(b), or a sex offense, as listed in the State’s Penal Code, Section 290.008(c). These serious crimes include murder, attempted murder, rape, arson, and robbery. 

County Level

In response, Los Angeles County formed a Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council and a Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant (JJRBG) Subcommittee that is tasked with developing plans related to the placement, supervision, treatment, and reentry strategies needed to provide appropriate rehabilitative services for the DJJ population. 

The JJRBG Subcommittee developed a draft DJJ Transition Plan, which was submitted to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for their review and potential approval in June 2021. The draft DJJ Transition Plan recommended that Camps Scott and Scudder be designated as the permanent facilities to serve the County male youth population, formerly under DJJ supervision. 

The City of Santa Clarita was not consulted or included in the development of the draft DJJ Transition Plan. 

City Level: Our City’s Input

The Santa Clarita City Council voted unanimously to oppose the Los Angeles County JJRBG Subcommittee Draft Plan at the regular City Council meeting on June 22, 2021, and sent a letter of opposition to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. In addition to this initial letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the City has reaffirmed opposition to the proposed use of Camps Scott and Scudder by consistently and diligently submitting written and verbal comments and engaging with the County and Subcommittee on significant concerns related to Camps Scott. 

In an effort to ensure members of our community had the opportunity to address the Subcommittee and County Officials on the potential repurposing of Camp Scott, the City requested a meeting be held by the Subcommittee and County Officials in the City. As a result, the County hosted a Community Listening Session on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, at City hall and received public input and comments from members of our community. This included testimony from members of the City Council, expressing significant concerns related to the Subcommittee’s proposed plans for Camp Scott.

Recent Developments

Following strong local advocacy efforts in opposition to the originally drafted plan, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion on July 27, 2021, to redirect the Subcommittee to conduct a full assessment of all licensed probation facilities countywide, in an effort to ensure that the most suitable facilities are selected for this new incarcerated population. However, despite major issues identified with Camp Scott through the County assessment, the Subcommittee, ultimately, voted to include Camp Scott as one of the four facilities the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors should consider as a permanent facility to serve the targeted male youth population, along with Campus Kilpatrick in Malibu Canyon and Camps Afflerbaugh and Paige in La Verne. 

On March 15, 2022, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisors Mitchell and Kuehl to direct County staff to develop a plan to designate Camp Scott and Campus Kilpatrick to serve as permanent facilities for juvenile male serious offenders and Dorothy Kirby Center to serve as a permanent facility for juvenile female serious offenders. The motion was approved 4-1, with Supervisor Barger as the lone dissenting vote. County staff must present a proposed plan related to renovating Campus Kilpatrick, Camp Scott, Dorothy Kirby Center to the Board of Supervisors by July 15, 2022. 

On April 18, 2022, the City filed a lawsuit against the County, alleging that the Board of Supervisors has approved the selection of Camp Scott without undertaking appropriate review under the California Environmental Quality Act. The next step in the lawsuit is to prepare the administrative record—which the City is electing to do.  

Residents can access the letters sent to the LA County Board of Supervisors and the JJRBG Subcommittee here:

The following are links to additional resources related to this issue:

Community Input: Make Your Voice Heard!

It is critical that County officials hear from community members. Please see the following ways on how to engage with County officials and make your voice heard!

Join a Board or Subcommittee meeting and make verbal comments:

Submit written comment: