Visitors to Juvenile Hall Feel Stuck Too

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The Los Angeles Times

By the time the relatives of youth incarcerated at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, Calif., set foot in the compound of brick buildings, they’ve spent hours lined up outside in the baking sun or drizzling rain, complied with a dress code that forbids sandals and shorts, and undergone weapon and drug screenings. Although visiting hours don’t begin until 1 p.m., the regulars know that showing up hours early for a good spot in line will give them more face time with the youths.

Los Angeles County officials say crowded conditions in their facilities leave no space for a waiting room, and that staff shortages and security concerns are to blame for visitors’ unpleasant experiences. But relatives say mandatory drug scans for traces of narcotics, sometimes overly aggressive pat-downs and general staff rudeness make them feel like criminals – and that families are not shown the respect they deserve. Aug. 27,