SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — A grand jury report found Sacramento County was spending $2 million a year to maintain empty juvenile detention centers.

While the buildings closed years ago, the city is still paying the maintenance costs and they’re on the rise.

“I don’t think that anybody we talked to really realized exactly how much money they were spending to maintain that,” said grand jury foreman Michael Arklelian.

The investigation found maintenance costs for a youth center and The Boys Ranch totaled more than $2 million a year.

The Boys Ranch housed mainly young gang members and provided classes in computer graphics, welding and building maintenance with hopes of getting them into the workforce instead of being on the streets.

The Thornton Youth Center near Rosemont offered counseling for moderate risk teens. Both closed during the recession when the county had to cut $37 million in operating costs.

“Between the two, it was a lot of money as indicated in the report and there’s no real indication the county is going to reopen that,” Arklelian said.

Teens doing time now are either held at the expanded juvenile hall on Kiefer Boulevard or sent home on probation.

The grand jury suggests the county either develop a plan to reopen the boys ranch or lease or sell the property.

According to a November 2013 appraisal, the rural property in the east county may be worth only about $400,000.

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will review the report after a response from the probation department.


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