New Humboldt County Juvenile Hall facility offers more safety for youth, officers

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EUREKA- A new juvenile hall facility is in the works for Humboldt County. It has been talked for nearly five years and officials are now in the process of designing and finalizing the architecture for the new facility.. 
 
Humboldt County Chief Probation Officer Bill Damiano said, “It will be a totally new facility. When we are done it will be built out in the back of our recreation yard.”
 
The new living unit will be built first, and after that a new unit will be built to hold more program space for classrooms, counseling, and religious services. Damiano said, “The program space is going to be more functional. It will be more of an inviting environment, a home-like environment."
 
The juvenile hall is more than forty years old and Domiano said the design of the facility leaves many of the officers unprotected, “At the end of corridors it is hard to get staff support if something goes wrong or if there is an assault on someone, people end up in remote areas,” he said.
 
Officers agree that it is unsafe for them because they only have a vantage point in two directions, but with the new facility they will be able to view the entire living unit which will eliminate all of their blind spots.
 
“It is safer for the children and for the officers,” said Humboldt County Probation Division Director Tim Toste. The new facility will cost roughly $15 million dollars, $13 million of that will come from the state, the remaining $2 million will come from the county.
 
"We are really excited,” said Damiano, “I think it is going to be a great addition to the department and certainly set us up to go into the future to continue to provide really good services to youth and families of Humboldt County.”
 
Within the next year the department will be constructing the final design of the new facility, after that is complete it will be brought before the California’s Public Works Department for final approval.