Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, June 13, 2023 @ 3:50 p.m. / Jail, Local Government, Youth

Del Norte Probation Chief Moves Juvenile Closure Deadline To Aug. 4, Says His Division Will Serve Offenders and At-Risk Youth

Today's meeting

(Updated at 9:26 a.m. June 23 to correct budget information concerning the Del Norte County probation department. Del Norte County's probation department receives about $3.5 million in offsetting revenue from the state, not $500,000 as reported by the Outpost. Chief Probation Officer Lonnie Reyman also projected a decrease of $822,000 in the county's net cost of operating probation for this fiscal year, most of which is due to closing the 24-7 juvenile detention facility. The Outpost previously reported that the $822,000 decrease was in offsetting revenue from the state.)


Del Norte Supervisors Begin Process of Closing Juvenile Hall, Ask Probation Chief to Form Re-Entry Team Should Things Change


Noting that his department just had its first meeting with the union representing his employees on Monday, Del Norte County’s probation chief said Aug. 4 is the new deadline for closing the 24-7 juvenile detention facility.

Aug. 4 is the “go live date” for Del Norte’s new Youth Opportunity Center, which will focus on programs for youth under court supervision as well as others who are at risk, Chief Probation Officer Lonnie Reyman told supervisors on Tuesday. These could be youth whose parents consider them out of control, including runaways, he said.

“We’ve had those calls over the years, ‘What can you do to help me with my kid?’” Reyman told supervisors. “The answer’s always been that unless they commit a crime, it’s not really our thing. This will be a place where we can say, ‘Well, come have a conversation with us.’ Referrals from outside agencies will come in, either law enforcement or school district, and we’ll sit down.”

Nine months after he recommended closing the 24-7 juvenile detention facility, Reyman reassured supervisors that his department is still arresting and detaining offenders. Three youth are currently in custody in Humboldt County, while several were ordered by the court to be detained over the weekend.

Overall, there are a total of 25 to 30 youth who are under county supervision currently, he said.

On Tuesday, Reyman said his department is working with the Del Norte County Employees Association on job descriptions and pay structures that will go along with establishing the re-entry services team.

He outlined the modifications the building itself will have to undergo to meet the department’s future needs. This includes having a dedicated space to process those that are booked into the facility and who need a place to stay during court hearings.

Reyman also described creating multi-disciplinary team meetings consisting of outside agencies such as the county’s Social Services Branch, Del Norte Unified School District, Remi Vista —which offers counseling and other mental health treatment for youth — as well as tribal organizations.

Partnering with the Del Norte County Office of Education in particular could be beneficial, Reyman said, since they could offer programs that would provide high school credit to youth.

“There are things the district can do such as making us an adjunct site to the Community Day School,” he said. They can provide transport in some cases and tutoring — different things on the education side that we can’t do ourselves.”

Reyman said he would return before the Board of Supervisors before the Aug. 4 “go live date” to officially end the jobs that currently exist at juvenile hall and establish the new re-entry team positions.

Reyman will also ask county supervisor to establish contracts as a backup to existing agreements with Humboldt, Mendocino and Shasta counties to house Del Norte’s juvenile offenders.

Juvenile hall has lost staff in the nine months since Reyman recommended closing the detention facility, Norma Williams, president of the Del Norte County Employees Association SEIU 1021, told supervisors. The union is open to continuing its discussions with Reyman and the county, but said that the closure will impact future employees as well as current ones.

Two juvenile hall staff members are part of the union team that’s in negotiations, Williams said. She said she’s there to help with advocacy.

“There are going to be significant changes, especially in one area of the contract that directly governs juvenile hall and its schedule,” she said. “(There will) be other changes in relation to salary and other cosmetic changes throughout the contract that we’ve discussed and touched on yesterday.”

According to Reyman, who also gave a presentation of his department’s budget on Tuesday, there are 14 positions for sworn officers within the juvenile services division and six are currently filled. In October Reyman said the re-entry team would consist of six staff members as well as a program coordinator and a supervisor. On Tuesday, he said his department is still sticking to that plan.

“What we’ll end up with, particularly since we’re so short-staffed, is the juvenile services supervisor, we’ll start filling that role for the re-entry unit, she’ll supervise both juvenile services and the re-entry team,” he said. “We’ll have four re-entry officer positions and a program coordinator position. All six of those positions will be created as part of that team.”

According to Reyman’s budget presentation, overall the probation department is projecting $6 million in expenditures for the 2023-24 fiscal year and expects to bring about $3.5 million in off-setting revenue from the state, which includes jail realignment funds through Assembly Bill 109.

The net cost to the county for the probation department is about $2.6 million, Reyman told the Wild Rivers Outpost. That's a decrease of about $822,000, most of which comes from closing juvenile hall as a 24-7 detention facility, he said.

The new re-entry program, which includes the Youth Opportunity Center, is expected to cost $1.83 million.

"Typically operating costs for juvenile hall is about $2.5 million," he said. "We got offsetting revenue (from the state) for that too. Usually the county cost was about $1.5 million. We would bring in about $1 million from state revenue to offset our operating costs when we were running custody."

District 3 Supervisor Chris Howard called Reyman’s presentation encouraging, especially its focus on building partnerships with the Del Norte County Office of Education. Howard also suggested using the new Youth Opportunity Center as a place where youth experiencing mental health crises could get treatment and feel safe.

Howard’s colleague, former sheriff and current District 5 Supervisor Dean Wilson said he’s also encouraged.

“We’ve seen an increase in juvenile offenses, especially within our school districts and classes and the direction our state has pushed our schools and its response to inappropriate behavior has only encouraged more inappropriate behavior,” Wilson said, though he didn’t point to any specific statistics or studies. “As long-term involvement in law enforcement, it is only when government and our actions step up and we’re able to intercede and break that pattern of behavior that anything is done. And unfortunately it requires us to bring juveniles into the system.”

Reyman’s presentation to the Board on Tuesday comes after supervisors designated juvenile hall as a special-purpose juvenile hall in January. At the time, Reyman said he only had enough staff to operate the facility 90 hours per week.


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