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Preston California Youth Authority

Reason for Review

Penal Code Section 919(b) mandates that the Grand Jury annually review all prisons and jails within the County.


The Grand Jury made two visits to the Preston Youth Correctional Facility:  the first on October 11, 2000 with a limited follow-up tour on January 16, 2001.  During the first tour the Grand Jury met with most of the management staff of the facility.  During the meeting a briefing of the operations of Preston was described.  Preston houses male offenders, mostly between 16 and 18 years old, and had a ward population of about 756 at the time of the Grand Jury's first visit. 

The Preston annual budget is approximately $36 million, or about $47,619 annually per ward.  A portion of that budget may include expenses shared with other Youth Authority facilities or with the California Department of Forestry. 

Emphasis within the California Youth Authority is on education with about 60% of the wards participating in academic programs and 40% in vocational/technical classes, including some college-level correspondence courses.  There is one teacher on staff for each 15 wards.  The Grand Jury had the opportunity of attending a Student Council meeting during its first visit. 

During the Grand Jury's visits, all facets of Preston were toured including separate dorms for dysfunctional wards, specifically, those wards who have committed more-serious crimes, high-profile cases and those who need intense counseling.  The Special Management Program (high-security facility), cafeteria, medical/mental facilities, chapel, gymnasium, vocational shops, and the canteen were reviewed.  Also toured was the Ponderosa Fire Camp, which is an area where exemplary wards are prepared and trained to be transferred to Youth Authority/Department of Forestry fire-fighting facilities at Pine Grove, Washington Ridge, Ben Lomond, Ventura, or Mt.  Bullion.


Members of the Grand Jury interviewed staff, reviewed documents, and visited Preston twice. 

Persons interviewed:

 Documents examined:


1.       The intramural sports program which allowed wards from different dorms to interact has been eliminated due to budgetary limitations.




No recommendation.

Response Required

No response required.