November 22, 2014
Final Reports
San Mateo Courts - Civil Grand Jury

2002-2003 Report:

Juvenile Camps Security in San Mateo County

Summary | Background | Findings | Conclusions | Recommendations| Responses

Summary:

The Grand Jury inspected the two juvenile detention camps located in San Mateo County — Log Cabin Ranch, owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco, and Camp Glenwood, owned and operated by San Mateo County — and determined that the camp residents pose a potentially serious security risk. The Sheriff’s Office conducted surveys of each camp in the past three years and made recommendations, several of which still need to be implemented.

Issue: Are the security arrangements at the two juvenile detention camps in San Mateo County, Log Cabin Ranch and Camp Glenwood, adequate to control potential escape or riots?

Background:

There are two camp or ranch-type male juvenile minimum security detention facilities (camps) located within a mile of each other in the La Honda area. One facility, Log Cabin Ranch, built in 1941, is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. The other facility, Camp Glenwood, in existence since 1968, is owned and operated by San Mateo County.

Both camps, which use the same access road, are located in a remote area that is hilly, heavily wooded and difficult to reach. Both camps are unlocked, unfenced dormitory-type facilities. The area is a natural habitat for wildlife, including mountain lions and deer.

Log Cabin Ranch, with a capacity of 84, currently has a resident population of 29. Camp Glenwood, with a capacity of 60, has 30 residents. The camps are operated by the juvenile probation department staff of the respective counties. The residents assigned to these facilities have committed felonies and misdemeanors ranging from robbery, theft, and battery to vandalism. Gang associations and drug involvement are not unusual among the resident population.

The Grand Jury inspected Log Cabin Ranch, interviewed the camp director and a former San Francisco Juvenile Court judge, and reviewed the types of offenses committed by the residents. The Grand Jury also inspected Camp Glenwood; interviewed the camp director and staff members, a San Mateo County Juvenile Court judge, and San Mateo County Juvenile Probation Department personnel; and reviewed the types of offenses committed by the Camp Glenwood residents. Officers of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office responsible for the La Honda area were also interviewed.

The Grand Jury reviewed security policies and procedures for both camps; and reviewed two surveys regarding security prepared by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office— Log Cabin Ranch (April 2000) and Camp Glenwood (September 2001).

Findings:

The camps have common features and systems for dealing with juvenile offenders, and have similar programs that emphasize education and job skill training.

The juvenile court, at its discretion, determines what happens to a juvenile offender. It considers the offender’s personal and criminal history, family background, and recommendations from the juvenile probation office. The juvenile court has options ranging from home placement (preferred), placement in a camp, lockup at a juvenile hall, or, for more serious offenders, commitment to the California Youth Authority. Commitment to a camp can be up to nine months with the average stay being six months.

Interviews indicated that residents at Log Cabin Ranch were more criminally sophisticated than Camp Glenwood residents due to their inner city and gang backgrounds. Gang culture is not tolerated at either camp.

While both camps’ staff and Sheriff’s deputies state the local terrain and remote location of the camps make them fairly secure and create a deterrent, escapes do occur on occasion. Both camps rely on their own staff and assistance from the Sheriff’s Office if problems arise, however, there are no written emergency response plans for coordinated actions between the camps and the Sheriff to deal with escapes, violence at the camps, or medical emergencies.

The Sheriff’s surveys report less than adequate radio communication between the camps and the Sheriff’s Office. Both facilities need better security lighting, electronic gate control, or cameras vital to controlling access and to monitor cars that could be used for escape. The surveys recommend monitoring by closed circuit television and upgrading the radio communications system for use between both camps and the Sheriff’s Office to assure contact in the event the normal communication system becomes compromised during an escape, riot, or medical emergency.

There is a lack of information provided by the camps to the Sheriff’s Office regarding escapees, e.g., photograph or other identification, criminal and personal history. This information is critical to the Sheriff’s ability to initiate a search and apprehend the escapees.

The Sheriff and management at both camps share concern about contraband. Canine inspections are not used to control introduction of contraband into the camps. Visitors to Log Cabin Ranch are taken up the road into another facility to be searched prior to visiting residents.

There is no Memorandum of Understanding between the counties that addresses security procedures or costs for services provided by San Mateo County to San Francisco’s Log Cabin Ranch.

Camp Glenwood

The camp consists of resident housing, education, recreation, and administrative areas. Eight officers supervise the facility, six during the day and two at night. There is a total of 20 to 30 available staff for shift rotations and standby duty. Bed checks are made every 15 minutes during the night, and there are monitoring cameras in the dormitories.

Camp staff note the age, physical characteristics, physical and mental health, criminal history, and gang affiliations of residents. The camp emphasizes home visits; and offers anger management courses, educational programs, job training, and mental health treatment.

Camp Glenwood has written policies and procedures dealing with restraint strategies, escapees, visitor identification and searches, and handling hostage situations.

Log Cabin Ranch

Log Cabin Ranch consists of resident housing, education, recreation, and administrative areas. Staff has been reduced from 15 available for duty to seven or eight sworn peace officers during the day and two at night. Resident headcount is taken every 30 minutes.

Residents range in age from 14 to 18 years old. Gang affiliation and activity among the residents is a critical concern. Some residents are fascinated with killing and threatening lives, or are themselves marked to be killed by another gang. Robbery and selling drugs is a part of their culture. Staff indicates the resident population at Log Cabin Ranch is more violent, emotional, and gang-related than the Camp Glenwood residents.

There are no cameras to monitor resident activity; staff relies on visual monitoring. There is no electronically controlled gate to stop unauthorized people from approaching the ranch buildings. There are no signs indicating unauthorized people are not allowed on the property. There is a lack of sufficient lighting in the gate area and around the perimeter of the ranch property.

In the event of an escape or violence that the staff cannot handle, the Log Cabin Ranch procedures dictate they call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Moss Beach Substation for assistance, and then notify the San Francisco Police Department. The radio system used to communicate with Camp Glenwood and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office in emergencies is not adequate.

Conclusions:

Both camps are detention environments for juveniles who have been judged too violent and difficult for home detention, but not so violent and difficult to be committed to locked facilities.

The security at both camps is aided by their being in a remote area. According to camp directors and Sheriff’s Office personnel, however, the residents are prone to violence and gang activity, so more comprehensive security measures at each camp are necessary.

Improved radio communications and common emergency procedures could improve the Sheriff’s Office responsiveness to escapes or other troubles at either of the camps.

Recommendations:

  1. Develop coordinated written emergency plans at each camp including:

    1. procedures for the camps to provide the Sheriff with photo identifications and histories of escapees

    2. the Sheriff’s procedures for responding to escapes
Camp Glenwood

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the San Mateo County Juvenile Probation Department should implement the recommendations of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office security report including the following improvements to upgrade security.
  1. Upgrade and improve communication and radio procedures between the Sheriff’s Office, Log Cabin Ranch, and Camp Glenwood.

  2. Install a motorized gate with buzzer control at the entrances of the property.

  3. Install cameras for monitoring camp activity and perimeter activities.

  4. Improve camp perimeter lighting.
Log Cabin Ranch

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Office must work with the City and County of San Francisco and its Juvenile Probation Department to ensure upgrading and improvement of security at Log Cabin Ranch as a condition of continued operation. Those improvements should include the following recommendations of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office security report.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Office must work with the City and County of San Francisco and its Juvenile Probation Department to ensure upgrading and improvement of security at Log Cabin Ranch as a condition of continued operation. Those improvements should include the following recommendations of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office security report.
  1. Installation of an electronic-controlled entrance gate with cameras to monitor ingress and egress, alarm capability, and enhanced lighting.

  2. An entrance sign should be posted indicating that unauthorized access is prohibited and that electronic surveillance is in use.

  3. Enlist the use of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit to assist Log Cabin Ranch staff in finding contraband.

  4. Establish and implement common written policies and procedures, including consideration of the associated costs, to cover coordinated responses between the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Camp Glenwood and the Log Cabin Ranch in the event of escapes and emergencies.

  5. Install television cameras to monitor both the interior of the camp and the perimeter, and improve perimeter lighting.

  6. Improve the radio communication system with the Sheriff’s Office and Camp Glenwood.

  7. Provide the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, when requested, information about the residents who are gang members.

Response
© 2014 Superior Court of San Mateo County