The May 22 open house at Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility was also an information fair. Tables holding pamphlets were shaded with canopies. Behind each table stood helpful staff who provided information about programs available to control problem behavior such as graffiti, drugs, gangs, and truancy.
Personnel at the SDPD “Say” table had a spinning wheel and offered chances to win pencils, T-shirts, and book bags; they had a waiting crowd.
According to a probation deputy, this year's event was better attended than last year's. Evident were plenty of parents with their adolescents and teens, but no one was seen being dragged by the ear.
Two young bilingual parents from Chula Vista said they brought their adolescent boy “because he doesn’t listen.” He was most interested in the display of shanks made from toothbrushes in the hall and the bowls of free candy.
Besides the hall in Birdland, the county has East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility in Otay Mesa, and Camp Barrett. A deputy estimated San Diego County’s juvenile hall system capacity at about 1000.
Things briefly got exciting when a big, loud teen came storming through the crowd swinging his arms and yelling. With a dozen or more probation deputies in the area, they immediately swarmed in the boy’s direction, followed by a crowd of onlookers. The boy did not hurt anybody and was not detained.