Monday, February 6, 2012

Juvenile Facility Coming to South Capitol Street

(h/t to reader Erik) Build-out is under way for a juvenile facility to be located in a couple one-story commercial buildings owned by Douglas Development on the 1200 block of South Capitol Street.  The Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) Drop-In Center will provide community-based juvenile probation supervision and services, including tutoring, mentoring, education and prevention groups, peer mediation, recreation, and field trips.  In addition, refreshments will be provided and the Center will contain a satellite courtroom. The Center will be open Monday - Saturday from 9am to 9pm and will serve youth ages 12-18 who are either pre-trial or facing probation revocation.  The Family Court Social Services Division of the DC Superior Court have recently opened two other facilities in Southeast and Northeast.  Following is an example of activities that take place in the Northeast Center from a press release:
Monday - Friday: 9am - 3:30pm
Youth and parent(s) under Court supervision report for initial orientation following formal charging subsequent to arrest.  Youth who have been suspended from school for a period of five to ten days, and have not been assigned to an alternative suspension school will report for the entire duration of suspension. Parents will be required to go to the school to gather all educational lessons for the youth and the youth will be required to attend the Drop-In Center to complete the lessons during suspension.
Monday - Friday: 4pm - 9pm
Pre-adjudicated youth and those facing probation revocation will be required to report to the Center to participate in the following activities:
4:10pm - 5pm - Pro-social group facilitated by probation officers
5pm - 6:30pm - Tutoring
6:30pm - 7pm - Refreshments
7pm - 7:15pm - (break)
7:15pm - 9pm - Indoor Recreation: table top games, movies, etc. 
Each evening, probation officers will ensure curfews are met by conducting face-to-face checks and phone calls at the homes or court ordered placement of all youth who have court-ordered curfews. 
BARJ workshops designed to educate youth on the impact of their juvenile crime and the importance of restoration for the victim, offender, and community in which the crime occurred.  Community service will also be conducted on Saturdays.
A peek inside the Center reveals a room with several seats and a game room with a pool table and arcade games. The space was recently occupied by Gryphon Technologies, a federal contractor. On Tuesday, the director of Court Social Services will present at the First District Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) meeting at 7pm, located at First District headquarters (101 M Street).

1201 South Capitol is located next to Grand China. 
Update: At the CAC meeting, Terri Odom, director of Court Social Services and Zoe Bush, Presiding Judge of the DC Superior Court, spoke about the BARJ under construction on South Capitol Street.  The CAC meeting wasn't a venue for a debate over the location of the Center, but a meeting will be set up where  concerns over the location can be addressed. 

During the question and answer period, Odom said that there will be armed security guards on site and surveillance cameras will be on 24 hours a day.  During the build-out, additional insulation was installed to minimize noise to the nearby townhomes.  The juveniles in this program are low and medium-risk youth, while high-risk youth will not be sent to the BARJ, but will be sent to a detention center on Mt. Olivet Street in Northeast. Juveniles involved in the program have a recidivism rate of just 6%. Odom would like to set up an Adopt-a-Block program in the area of the new BARJ to help clean up from Nationals game patrons who leave litter in the residential area on their way to/from games.  Once the next meeting has been set, I'll post it here.

Update #2: The community meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 15th from 6:30pm - 8:30pm at Lucky Kabob (1548 1st Street).


PostIt said...

SWill -- Thanks for this update. Glad to hear that these kinds of social facilities are in existence and getting support. I hope there's some kind of benchmarking/tracking to ensure their mission is succeeding on some level.

Made me think though -- what kinds of volunteering opportunities are available here or other places in SW? Are BARJ or other community organizations in SW opening their doors to local volunteers? If so which ones?

EA said...

While the SW community as a whole may have a need that DC Superior Courts have identified for a facility of this nature, we neghbors DO NOT want this facility located so close to residences. There are significant concerns fror the safety of residents and juveniles alike, and DC Superior Courts decided on this location without any engagement with the community or elected officials. THIS IS UNSAT. The Center should absolutely not be placed here, and everyone in SW should demand action from our elected officials to halt occupancy and fully investigate the need for and location of such a facility. The CAC meeting Tuesday 2/7 at 1D District station at 7pm will be the first opportunity for residents to voice there opinion. All concerned residents should come out strong and make our voices heard.

EA said...

And by the way, my tip off to SWTLQTC should not be considered an endorsement of the intended use of the facility. The press release is (as expected) all glowing for the intended facility. The residents' view of this facility is nowhere near rosy.

SWag said...

Is this the type of stuff that is going to make SW a world class neighborhood? we are off to a rip roaring start with this one!

IMGoph said...

So, those who are opposed to this, where do you propose to put these services? Let me guess, not in your back yard, right?

EA said...

Residents are concerned about the suitability of the facility for the overall purpose, and those concerns aren't limited to just proximity to residences, although that is a relevant concern. To answer your question, a suitable facility located similarly to the NE facility (i.e., an industrial park that is more easily secured) would be best. For instance, the SW post office on L St. is moving by the end of the year when their lease is up. This facility has plenty of features (size, location, direct entrance from a good-sized parking lot, fencibility, etc.) that make it more suitable for repurposing as a juvenile center. There are probably other locations south of the local resdiences more towards Buzzards Point that could also be considered. At least I have personally visited the NE center when I found out about the issue, and it is easily apparent how the South Capitol location is unsuitable when compared to the NE center. My neighbors and I are also willing to meet with government officials to explore all possible locations to determine what is best for the community as a whole, but no one ever asked us. The problem here is a lack of communication on the issue, including an evaluation of alternatives. We residents were absolutely surprised that this location was even being considered for a juvenile center, and it is only by accident that we discovered the plans. There are plenty of concerns with the location at 1201 South Capitol St. No attempt has been made to communicate with residents on how those concerns will be addressed and how other locations were deemed less suitable. If the SOuth Capitol St. location were to be selected, then the DC Superior Courts should demonstrate why that location is best, what alternatives were considered and eliminated, and what is being done to ensure the safety of residents and the juveniles the facility will serve. Our identified concerns (including demonstrating need for the facility in the community regardless of location, safety, security, staffing, funding, impacts on businesses including the Nationals and their fans, integration with the vision for South Capitol Street as a "grand boulevard," etc.) are more wholistic than NIMBY.

Mr. Other Upper NW said...

EA, your arguments would be easier to follow if you used paragraph breaks.

LGMail said...

this is a horrible addition to our neighborhood. and they site it right around the corner from syphax gardens and o street circle where most of the riff raff come from that give our neighborhood a bad rap.

Stacey said...

EA--speak for yourself only. Stop referring to your personal position as that of "the neighbors" or "residents" or "the community as a whole". You have some valid concerns but does not mean they are shared by everyone. Its presumptuous and condescending to others to make such broad proclamations--and in so doing, merely undermines your argument rather than bolsters it.

E. said...

As a resident of near SE, you're damn right I have concerns. I can't imagine residents or businesses are going to be thrilled they just plopped this place here without any consultation?

We'll see what happens after a few more of these "he was gonna turn his life around!"s arrive and there's a mysterious spike in violent crime around S. Capitol Street.

Sacha Jean said...

this facility will be about 12feet from the back yard of private residential homes that house very small children and families. Why would anyone rally around having such a facility in their 'back yard'. NO WE DO NOT WANT THIS FACILITY IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. Why not put it in Georgetown, foggy bottom or Palasaides area are they all full up with facilities. We have done our part with these types of facilities in SW!!

Unknown said...

I live about 200 yards from this facility. I wasn't crazy about the idea but instead of trying to find reasons to attack it's purpose, or rationally debate the logistics, I wanted to figure out how I could volunteer and support. I'm in the planning stages of something supportive...stay tuned...or find something else to complain about.