San Francisco supervisors vote to shut down Juvenile Hall by 2021

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Supervisors late Tuesday voted to shut down the city's Juvenile Hall, a move opposed by Mayor London Breed.

The vote to close Juvenile Hall was almost unanimous. It passed 10 to 1 at the board meeting, a meeting which was disrupted by opponents of the bill.

"Stay true ...Stay true..." Rev. Amos Brown, president of the San Francisco NAACP shouted, directing his remarks toward Supervisor Shamann Walton, the main sponsor of the bill that would shut down Juvenile Hall by 2021.

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Brown stopped interrupting the meeting after sheriff's deputies warned him he would be escorted out.

The bill would end the jailing of most young offenders in the city, sending them instead to smaller, community-based facilities.

Walton, who spent time as a youngster in jail, says the bill would provide better programs for rehabilitation.

"Mental health support, more education exposure and support and jobs for life skill support."

Supervisor Hillary Ronen is a co-author of the legislation. "Juvenile crime has plummeted while our spending has remained consistent or gone up."

She quotes a San Francisco Chronicle investigation which showed that last year, it cost $266,000 to lock up a minor in Juvenile Hall, a figure that nearly doubled since 2011.

The 150-bed facility normally houses fewer than 50 young offenders.

Rev. Brown says the bill's authors slighted the African American community. "The initiators of this measure did not have the courtesy nor the respect to meet with the African American community."

He opposes the bill, as does Mayor London Breed. She argues the legislation provides no clear cut alternatives after Juvenile Hall closes.

"It's why I focused on starting this blue ribbon panel on having a real honest conversation about the challenges we face."

The mayor's blue ribbon commission would focus on alternatives if Juvenile Hall is shut down, including secure facilities for those who are a danger to themselves and others.

This was the first reading of the bill.

Under the supervisors' rules, it must be voted on again during the second reading and then sent to the mayor if it passes as predicted.
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