At the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center in San Leandro California, Assistant Superintendent Brian Hopson led a tour through the huge, 360-bed juvenile detention center. Nearly half the beds were empty. Hopson's footsteps echoed down the hall as he unlocked a door to an unoccupied unit.
When they're short on guards, supervisors sometimes run what they call split recs -- basically dividing recreation, exercise, and dinner time in half. Fifteen kids come out while the other 15 remain in their cells.
The teenage girls could barely hear me over the screaming roar of the motorized plumbing snake that the county workers insisted they needed to run through the classroom as I was trying to speak to a class at the Girls Rehabilitation Facility.