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Assembly OKs $33 Million to Fund County Juvenile Probation Camps


SACRAMENTO — The Assembly on Monday overwhelmingly approved a bill to provide $33 million in state funds to keep open 18 juvenile probation camps slated for closure in Los Angeles County and three others elsewhere.

A 63-1 vote sent the bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Brentwood), to the Senate. There was no Assembly debate.

Without the money, 18 out of the 19 Los Angeles County juvenile probation camps, two in Santa Clara County and one in Kern County could close as early as next month, Friedman said.

Such cutbacks by the counties would mean spending more state money to send juvenile offenders to group homes and California Youth Authority institutions.

The county camps differ from the state CYA institutions in that judges usually assign less hardened offenders to them, a Friedman aide said. The county camps provide academic and job training as well as drug treatment programs.

CYA confinement costs four times as much per ward as the juvenile probation camps, and the recidivism rate is higher, according to Friedman.

"It would be fiscally foolish to allow the closure of one of the few government programs that are effective and save money," he said.

A Wilson Administration spokesman said the governor had taken no formal position on the bill but he has "serious concerns" with the legislation as written because of the added costs to the state.

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