For Sacramento County's juvenile hall residents, stay has gotten longer

Detained minors spend an average 31 days in custody in 2015

Local kids are languishing in juvenile hall longer than their adult counterparts spend time in jail, the Sacramento County Probation Department reported on Tuesday.

Through the first part of 2015, minors detained at the county's Youth Detention Facility are spending an average of 31 days in custody, representing a three-day increase from the year before and eight days longer than in 2012.

By comparison, the average adult inmate spends slightly more than 30 days in a California jail, according to data from California's Board of State and Community Corrections.

The reasons for the 10 percent increase over last year are numerous. With 38 minors in out-of-state placement settings, Sacramento ranks second among California counties with limited local options for children in custody. Sacramento also has the third-highest placement rate overall. “More serious cases typically require a longer period of time for the case to resolve and complex cases with mental health or family issues may take longer as well,” explained Assistant Probation Chief Michael Shores.

Probation officials reported these findings during a law enforcement workshop hosted by supervisors Tuesday afternoon. The department is hoping to reopen its shuttered youth center to minors with sub-acute mental health needs and substance-abuse issues, sexually exploited girls, and kids who require short-term removals from their homes as they and their families receive intensive reunification services.

Repurposing the center was one of the recommendations of last year's grand jury report. Chief Probation Officer Lee Seale told SN&R there isn't yet a dollar figure associated with reopening the center.