Monday, February 05, 2007

A Look At Juvenile Hall

The Times- Standard's, Chris Durant, takes us on a short tour of Humboldt County Juvenile Hall and the Regional Facility this morning. Boy, Chris and the Hall staff make it sound like Juvenile Hall is a bit more upbeat place than when I worked there.

I recognize a couple of names in the story, Mark Cory being one. I believe he was a full time counselor like me when I was there. He apparently stayed on and moved up the line.

Durant made a slight misspell with the other one. Tim ToSTe, not Totse, was a full timer back then, too. Him and another guy, Moe, ran the Juvenile Assigned Work Service (JAWS) among other things. JAWS was the juvenile equivalent of the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP).

Tim's now Superintendant of Juvenile Hall, although the story lists him as Division Director. Probably the same thing unless he's changed positions fairly recently.


At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You got fond memories of beating up little kids Fred?

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your stalker is back, Fred?

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was it like for you Fred? It sounded pretty typical of what I imagined I guess.

At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you mean SWAP not SWAT? LOL Correct the paper but screw up your own blog... Nice Fred Nice.

At 5:32 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Ooops!How funny. And that was after I specifically told myself to not make that mistake.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Fred said...

3:23 asks, "Your stalker is back, Fred?".

Probably never left. Oh well, I had fun deleting the post he made this morning.

5:40 asks, "What was it like for you Fred?".

Oh, I'm just not sure I had such an upbeat attitude about the goings on there. Not that it was a bad job. Nine days out of ten I often wondered if it was the best job I ever had.

I just read the article as painting The Hall as a little more of a postitive place with a lot of effort being made to reform and work with kids. I also get the impression it suggests those efforts are fairly successful, of which I'm skeptical.

Sure, even when I was there there were counselors and various programs available to the kids. In fact, when I was there the job title was Group Counselor, now Juvenile Corrections Officer.

For the most part I felt The Hall was pretty much a holding facility for bad kids, some of which could be quite a problem. Whatever efforts were made to "help" the kids had little effect, as far as I was concerned, if for no other reason than if a kid wanted to change, he probably wouldn't need to be in Juvenile Hall in the first place, would he?

I've always felt that kids went on to be whatever they ended up being in adulthood, for better or worse, regardless of (or maybe even in spite of?) whatever we did at Juvenile Hall.

Then there's the comment Mark [Cory] made about shackles and pepper spray being available, although "We don't use them very often...". Depends on what kind of crowd you have in there.

We didn't have pepper or tear gas available when I worked there. One of the staff was always saying we should have it available. I made it a point to remind everyone that, when you use pepper or tear gas in an enclosed environment like that, it might well end up on everybody and everything, including one's self.

But, in fairness, it was generally pretty peaceful.

Still, there were, and probably still are some bad actors there that are likely hopeless.

Little notice was given to that Eureka Reporter article a month or two ago about some kid in there that stabbed a couple of staff members with a sharpened toothbrush during an altercation.

Reminded me of one of the first days I was there, if not THE first day as a volunteer:

One of the staff asked me to go collect toothbrushes. They weren't allowed to keep them in their rooms all the time, just for brushing.

I went to a kid's room and opened the door with the toothbrush rack in my hand. The kid steps up to me, whips the toothbrush out from behind his back and jabs it at my chest, stopping just short of touching me. The handle edge had been honed down so it was real sharp.

He says, "See, I could have gotten you.". I just took the toothbrush and went back to the Control Room and showed them what he'd done to his toothbrush. Irene, the Asst. Superintendent looked at it and just seemed to shrug.

I wondered later if maybe that was some kind of set up to let the newbie volunteers and employees get an idea what could happen to them if they're not careful. Then again, I'd never heard of it being done to anyone else.

Regardless, if Justin wanted to have gotten me that time, he might well have gotten me.

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred was the guy who said he would pat any officer on the back who shot a former Juvenile Hall ward.

He made this statement within a week of the Chris Burgess shooting, when facts were non-existent. His comments served to inflame and further divide the community.

When asked to restate, or rescind this statement, he refused.

I'm glad to see Fred was not career material for Juvenile Hall.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Nope. Wrong again, 12:03: I never said I'd pat anyone on the back and I didn't say "a former Juvenile Hall ward...".

I said if I was working at Juvenile Hall, and some cop killed on of the real problem kids, I'd be tempted to send him a thank you note for not having to deal with the kid anymore. Nowhere's near all kids, just the chosen few assholes.

I'm under the impression, from all the news reports on the history of Chris Burgess, that Juvenile Hall staff are more than happy not having to deal with Burgess anymore.

Don't know that for sure as I don't know Burgess and haven't spoken to any present Hall or probation staff, but it's pretty clear to me by reading the lines in the T-S and NC Journal stories he was likely a real problem child, as I suggested to at the time.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Fred said...

that's supposed to read, "reading BETWEEN the lines of the T-S...".

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Fred, care to tell us why you moved on from juvenile corrections to the shadowy underworld of lawn maintenance?

At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred I would hope someone of your advanced age and hopefully advanced wisdom might say something like:

"Now that I'm older and more mature, I realize it to be regressive to wish harm or celebrate death. I was placed in a position of authority over troubled youth, a position that demands a man in adulthood to be a role model and enforcer. somebody who not only detains but watches over, doing so with respect.

I became a youth correctional officer of my own volition, and I did not expect it to be an easy job. These are after all, very troubled youth. I am, and society should be saddened by the death of someone who under my watch I would have been charged to supervise and protect."

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people are just assholes and need to be shot for everyone else's welfare. I certainly don't want some kid on crack coming into my yard. It's better the EPD blasted him than some poor private citizen. Chris Burgess brought it on himself with generous help from his mother, obviously. He may have been beyond corrigible, but we'll never know, and needn't worry.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Fred said...

4:47 wrote, "Fred I would hope someone of your advanced age and hopefully advanced wisdom might say something like".

Nope. I'm not taking anything back, although thanks for you concern.

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred is proof that age does not equal wisdom.

What happened to you back in The Hall Fred, that all these years later you would still be full of anger? What made you choose one of the hardest careers available, and then abandon it like a box of kittens on the side of the road?

Are you jealous The Hall kids got better care than you did as a child? It's OK to let it out.

At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred writes "...Regardless, if Justin wanted to have gotten me that time, he might well have gotten me."

Fred, when you went to work there, didn't you sign a binding agreement NOT to violate confidentiality?

At 6:12 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Don't remember if I did or not. But who is Justin? What's his last name? When was he in the Hall? Where is he now?

Last but not least, is Justin his real name?

At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't reckon, I guess. Can't rightly say as I give a shit. Maybe he was an apparition.


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