Juvenile fire crews to be consolidated in Northern California
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), today announced that they will close the juvenile offender fire camp in Ventura County on December 30, 2011.
As a result, most youth housed at the S. Carraway Public Service and Fire Center in Camarillo have been moved to the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp in Amador County, consolidating CDCR’s juvenile fire crews in one location.
CAL FIRE will continue to provide fire protection in the Ventura area with staffing from the California Conservation Corps. “The community will continue to have the benefit of state fire crew resources stationed just a half mile away from the original DJJ location ,” said CAL FIRE Director Ken Pimlott. “We constantly monitor fire conditions and have the ability to move CAL FIRE equipment into different areas of the State as conditions warrant.”
The number of youth committed to the state’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has been significantly reduced since the Ventura firefighting facility began operation in 1990. In the mid-1990s, the state began providing support for counties to retain their juvenile offenders to house them closer to family. Subsequently, legislation adopted in 2007 restricted DJJ’s population to juveniles committed only for serious and violent felonies and sex offenses, crimes which make some youth ineligible for firefighting duty.
These changes reduced DJJ’s statewide population from approximately 10,000 in 1996 to 1,100. As a result, DJJ had too few youth to uphold a working agreement with CAL FIRE to maintain four fire crews in Ventura, each composed of 13 to 17 firefighters.
With the consolidation, approximately 90 juvenile offenders will be housed in Pine Grove, about 40 miles east of Sacramento in the Sierra foothills, and available for community service projects and fighting wild land fires.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 28, 2011
CONTACT: Bill Sessa