OLYMPIA, Wash. – A southwest Washington lawmaker is defending a juvenile corrections facility in the 19th district targeted for closure as part of the Department of Social and Health Services budget reductions. Ian Cope reports from Olympia that the closure of the Naselle Youth Camp is projected to save the state $3.8-million, but Senator Brian Hatfield says other facilities need to be looked at first before the minimum and medium security facility in Pacific County is closed.
In addition to the financial benefit to the community and its 112 employees, Hatfield says Naselle’s partnership with other state agencies provides a benefit to both those agencies and the juvenile offenders “The partnership between Naselle Youth Camp and the Department of Natural Resources for example. Getting kids out in the woods, actually on work crews, getting that hands on experience and sense of accomplishment they really can’t get just sitting in warehouses on the I-5 corridor.”
Hatfield says the $3.8 million price tag is a small drop in the bucket when it comes to a $1.4 billion deficit and that all the benefits of Naselle far outweigh the cost. A town hall meeting on the potential shutdown will be held at Fort Vancouver on the afternoon of October 20.