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Orange County Adding Transitional Services, Housing to Help OC’s Juvenile Detainees

Ken Steinhardt, Orange County Register/SCNG

Plans are underway to transform a county-operated juvenile detention center in Orange into a "corrections campus" aimed at providing enhanced support for detained youth and those transitioning out of custody.

The new facility will undergo renovations to accommodate 68 beds for the redesigned detention center. An additional 60-bed independent living complex will be added for youth transitioning out of the center. New programs will provide juveniles with mental health, educational, and vocational resources, according to officials.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors recently granted approval for a contract of up to $109 million for the design and construction of the new campus at the Orange location. The objective is to offer resources that better prepare juveniles for success upon release, including behavioral health services, a culinary program, and various vocational programs.

The project is designed to provide support to youth during their sentences and as they reintegrate into society. “This new facility will be research infused and incorporate practices that are really going to make us and our county safer as youth that are housed with us for long periods of time will actually be released back home less likely to recommit crimes,” Daniel Hernandez, the county’s chief probation officer, said.

Fifth District Supervisor Katrina Foley says she is most excited for the transitional housing. “I have learned that you can’t pick your parents and sometimes you go back into an environment that is not healthy for the progress that you’ve made elsewhere,” she said. “So having an option for independent living is going to allow them to continue on the progress of the good growth that they’ve made toward work, school, their own mental health and wellness.”

The key is to reduce the recidivism, she added. “We don’t want to see juveniles coming back into juvenile hall. We want those numbers to continue to reduce.”

Read full story on Orange County Register

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