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Fouts Springs: A Model Approach to Serving High-Risk Youth

Contact: Selena Teji, Communications (415) 621-5661 x. 123

solano youth thrive as county pushes innovation envelope

San Francisco, CA: CJCJ’s study of Solano County Probation Department’s Fouts Springs Youth Facility, closed in 2011, finds that:

  • Solano County has a historic record of serving high-risk justice-involved youth locally.
  • Solano County has implemented low cost, systemic interventions that have reduced its reliance on youth detention and maintained public safety.
  • Fouts Springs Youth Facility served high-risk youth at a lower cost and with higher success rates than the state facilities before its closure.
  • The success of the program was the result of extensive staff training, intensive relationship building between staff and youth, and strong law enforcement leadership and community support.
  • Fouts Springs Youth Facility presents a regional model of serving high-risk youth that could be replicated in other jurisdictions if provided technical assistance and funding by the state.

Fouts Springs Youth Facility was established in 1959 as a regional alternative to the state youth correctional facilities. Over the course of its operations, it adopted several different programmatic models. In particular, in 2005 the facility transformed from a boot camp to a therapeutic, evidence-based model. CJCJ’s study analyzes data for youth served by the facility from 2005 through 2011. While Fouts Springs had a significantly lower rate of recidivism and length of stay than the state facilities, the cost to the committing county was higher due to the state’s large subsidy of state commitment costs. Solano County Probation Chief Christopher Hansen, Ph.D., reflected,

“The success of Fouts Springs could not have been possible without the vision and foresight of Superintendent Richard Watson. Richard transformed the culture of staff and the program from a boot camp model to one that focused on rehabilitation through positive behavior change. Additionally, through Richard's efforts working with the Colusa County Office of Education, youth were able to receive vocational training and a high school diploma or GED. The outstanding efforts of Richard Watson, Bruce Lillis, Richard Krygier, and Fouts staff positively changed the lives of the youths who participated in the program.”

To schedule an interview with Solano County Probation Chief Christopher Hansen, Ph.D., please contact him at 707-784-4803 or Chief Deputy Donna Robinson at 707-784-7614.

Read the full report >>

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For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with a CJCJ representative, please contact CJCJ Communications at 415-621-5661 x 123 or cjcjmedia@cjcj.org

Read an op-ed by author, Selena Teji, Spotlight on Solano: Youth thrive through county innovation.

Keywords: Brian Goldstein, press release, Selena Teji, Solano County, youth

Posted in Publications, Model Local Practices

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