LA County officials concerned over plan to move juvenile offenders to Saugus facilities

SAUGUS, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles County officials are raising concerns over a state plan to use two Saugus facilities to house juvenile offenders facing charges for violent crimes.

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger is among those who strongly opposes the state plan, citing issues with security and safety. She says the facilities are not ready to house those charged with violent crimes.

"If we can put together a facility that is going to ensure the safety of the youth and the community, providing rehabilitation services, I'm fine, but to house them immediately at these locations is irresponsible, half-baked and quite frankly it's something that I will not support," Barger said.

According to the county, the two Saugus facilities being considered - camps Kenyon Scudder and Joseph Scott - wouldn't be ready to house juveniles charged with violent crimes until 2022 at the earliest.

Top L.A. County prosecutor Jonathan Hatami says the state didn't do anything to get public input.

"It seems like nobody wants these individuals in their area, and they just decided on their own they were going to send everybody to Saugus," Hatami said.

L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón says he wants to make sure the facilities are secure.

"When we have kids that are doing things that are dangerous, and they're risking the rest of us, we need to follow science and we need to make sure that the settings that we provide are therapeutic, are going to provide the security that we need to protect our community, but are not going to harmful," Gascón said at a rally.

To get public input, the Santa Clarita City Council will address this issue of using the juvenile facilities for violent offenders at its next meeting on Tuesday.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to have a plan to review in the fall, possibly in October.

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