The Merit Center at San Francisco's Juvenille Justice Center Tuesday, November 15, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

The Merit Center at San Francisco's Juvenille Justice Center Tuesday, November 15, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

City launches new recreation center for youth in juvenile hall

San Francisco city officials on Tuesday celebrated the official opening of a new recreation center for youth at Juvenile Hall.

The Merit Center, a pilot program that makes use of existing space at Juvenile Hall, will allow qualifying youth a chance to play foosball, ping pong and video games and participate in movie nights and other group activities, officials said.

Access to the center will serve as an incentive for good behavior, with youth qualifying by participating in unit programs, showing positive and supportive behavior with peers and staff, attending and participating in the school program and completing homework assignments.

Officials said the creation of the center was made possible by a reduction in the hall’s inmate population, which has declined from a daily average of 123 in April 2008 to 45 youth today, a more than 60 percent reduction.

“For the past decade, San Francisco has implemented new ideas and approaches to reduce the number of youth at Juvenile Hall, and those strategies have produced incredible results that today allow us to launch the next phase of our juvenile justice efforts with the opening of this new Merit Center,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement.

Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Allen Nance said the center was intended to help address the root causes that bring youth into the juvenile justice system. “If we can provide youth with the motivation and support to change their behavior and teach them the skills to succeed in school, at home, and in the workplace, we won’t see them reenter the system and we will reduce recidivism even further,” Nance said.Bay Area News

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A sign about proposed development of the bluff at Thornton State Beach in Daly City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Retreat center proposed at popular state beach

Daly City residents oppose construction on ocean bluffs

Rev. Roland Gordon shows “The Great Cloud of Witnesses” collage mural at the Ingleside Presbyterian Church, which he began building in 1980.<ins> (</ins>
Rev. Roland Gordon preaches love in action

Pastor promotes peace, hope through art and prayer

Basketball (Shutterstock)
SI alum Begovich gets his moment, but Stanford falls on Senior Day

MAPLES PAVILION — Generally speaking, Stanford’s home finale on Saturday afternoon, a… Continue reading

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
 <ins></ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

Most Read