Closing Boys Totem Town

Ramsey County is closing its juvenile corrections program, Boys Totem Town.  The County has successfully developed alternative community services, leaving only 26 youth in Totem Town and other residential settings.

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However, we remain cautious.  In our experience, a large county would have more youth who aren’t ready for community settings, even with excellent diversion programs.  Since Ramsey isn’t increasing referrals to restrictive settings like residential treatment centers or the Red Wing juvenile prison, might there be unserved corrections youth migrating to other systems, perhaps contributing to increasing violence in Intermediate School Districts, or as part of the 1,000+ children considered too challenging for residential treatment? (see p. 21).

Ramsey County deserves great credit for deinstitutionalizing juvenile corrections, but cross-sector data is needed to be confident these youth aren’t reappearing elsewhere.

What do you think?

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Rich Gehrman2 Comments