Ventura County judges and community leaders Friday formally dedicated a $65-million juvenile justice center designed to reduce crime and turn around troubled kids.
The complex, financed with a combination of state and local funds, will begin taking in boys and girls at the end of the month. It will eventually house up to 420 juvenile offenders, consolidating services now scattered around the county.
Dignitaries gathered at the 45-acre site north of Oxnard to dedicate the Judge Steven Z. Perren Juvenile Justice Complex, named after the appellate court justice and former county judge whose passionate appeals on behalf of delinquent teens helped secure state funding and paved the way for the project.
Perren called the modern complex of detention halls and rehabilitation programs "a sanctuary for troubled kids" that will help reduce crime and turn juvenile offenders into productive members of society.
"It is not about bricks, it is not about mortar," Perren said, standing in front of the campus-like network of classrooms and high-security buildings.
"It is about what we as a community can and must do for our kids."