In June of 2004, the new Larry J. Rhoades Kern Crossroads Facility was dedicated. The program is located at 17824 Quality Road, Bakersfield, California and is devoted to redirecting the lives of some of the most delinquent youth in the County. Previously, many of the minors committed to the Kern Crossroads Facility would likely have been sent to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), formally known as the California Youth Authority. The facility consists of three split level housing units capable of holding 40 wards each, with a maximum population of 120 wards.
The Crossroads Facility is a secure, residential institution with a complete medical and mental health component. The program model is to train, educate, and guide minors who are committed by the Juvenile Court toward a more productive and delinquency-free lifestyle. Minors are committed to Crossroads for a period of one year, ideally spending six months in custody and six months on furlough. Upon commitment, minors are classified, needs assessments are completed, and case plans developed before they are placed in one of the living units at the facility.
The Crossroads Facility Program represents a collective effort to change negative habits, attitudes, and behaviors. Juvenile Corrections Officers, Probation Officers, Mental Health personnel, teachers, and minors’ parents or guardians all play a role in making a positive lifestyle change possible. Community service organizations and volunteers devote much appreciated time and effort toward the realization of this goal.
The basic philosophy is to instill in these young people the concepts of responsibility, accountability, and consequences by incorporating structure, discipline, education, and training in a behavior modification model. Some aspects of the program utilize military protocol, which provides structure in the development of leadership skills by allowing minors to earn rank and privilege. The recreation program is designed to challenge the minors physically and mentally. Components in the recreation program encourage teamwork and help to break down barriers to positive peer relationships.
Minors attend school 270 minutes a day in an educational program operated by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. The school program is designed to meet individual academic needs, often improving their scores two to three grade levels in reading and math during their stay. Community service is also an important aspect of the Crossroads Program. Minors give back to the community by performing community service to many nonprofit organizations. Vocational Training is offered in many areas including oilfield work and construction.