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 Public Invited to Take Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Juvenile Hall

The San Diego County Probation Department will welcome young people and their families for a behind-the-scenes tour of juvenile hall Saturday, May 18.

Probation officers lead the tour, highlighting the importance of good decisions and the consequences of illegal behavior. Visitors will follow the path of youth admitted into juvenile hall, beginning in a juvenile courtroom, where a judge orders the youth detained, and on to the hall’s booking area and living quarters. Students will see the simple uniforms, showers and locked rooms that become part of daily life in custody. At times, probation officers will tell young visitors to walk single file with their arms crossed, in the controlled style of detainees.

The public will not see youth residing at the facility.

Juvenile Hall Open House is always eye opening, and young people and families come for different reasons. For some, it’s a fascinating look into an otherwise closed public institution. For others, it’s a chance to ponder choices and consequences. After the tour, young people generally say they’re resolved to never return as a resident. Kearny Mesa’s juvenile hall houses pre-teenagers, teens and young adults who have committed a range of offenses. Some have vandalized or stolen property. Others have been arrested for drug or alcohol-related violations. Some have inexorably changed their lives and the lives of victims through serious, violent acts. ​

The Open House includes booths hosted by Probation groups and community partners with resources to steer young people towards positive pastimes and behaviors.

The tours are free and there is no age restriction. Parents can use their judgment about bringing very young children. (This County News Center video shows what to expect.) Minors not accompanied by parents are welcome if they are on good behavior. The tours begin at 9 a.m. at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility, 2801 Meadow Lark Drive. The last tour will take place at 1 p.m. No backpacks, purses or cameras are allowed. For more information, call 858-694-4500.​