SAN FRANCISCO—Several members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors are backing a new proposal that could close the city’s Juvenile Hall Justice Center within 3 years if approved. Supervisors Shamann Walton, Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney, Gordon Mar, Aaron Peskin and Sandra Lee Fewer introduced legislation on Tuesday, April 9 at the board meeting at City Hall that would close the 150-bed facility, located at 375 Woodside Ave., by the year 2021.
The supervisors first announced their plan last month, citing a decline in crime youth that resulted in the center being up to 75 percent empty on a regular basis. The legislation seeks to use the funds that keep the facility open, which is more than $13 million each year to develop alternatives to juvenile incarceration.
Those alternative include a rehabilitative center for the small minority of youth that cannot be released.
More than 100 demonstrators crowded the steps of City Hall to back the plan. San Francisco Mayor London Breed is against the proposal. On Monday, Mayor Breed announced the composition of a Juvenile Justice Reform Blue Ribbon Panel, which will focus on comprehensive and state-wide reform to San Francisco’s juvenile justice system. The panel will be co-chaired by San Francisco Human Rights Commission Executive Director Sheryl Davis and Corey Monroe, a 20-year member of the Omega Boys Club of San Francisco who works with incarcerated youth in the juvenile justice system, teaching them how to avoid the risk factors that lead to violence and drug abuse.
“As someone who has worked for decades to change and save lives of those who have entered juvenile hall, we know that we can help those kids, especially young men of color who are disproportionately represented in the system,” said Monroe.
“When these young people do get into trouble, we are there to ensure that they don’t begin a pattern incarceration. That is how we have reduced the number of kids in juvenile hall, and we will continue to do that work through this panel.”
The SF Board of Supervisors are expected to vote in the next month on the decision to close the facility.