Officers from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the Daly City Police Department had been searching for the teenagers who left Camp Glenwood, a low-security facility for delinquent boys, when one of the boys called the camp to say he would surrender Friday.
The detention camp, which houses 56 boys in an isolated area of the hills south of Redwood City, is an unlocked facility secured by six to seven probation officers. The camp sees five to six escapes a year, according to Stew Peterson, deputy director of the San Mateo County Probation Department.
“A lot of the time, kids act on impulse, and when they don’t like the stress, the standard response is to run away from that,” he said. “They calm down and rethink things and usually turn themselves in or get picked up.”
According to Peterson, the boys entered the camp three months ago — one for robbery and the other for making terrorist threats — and pose no danger to the community.
Escapes from juvenile detention facilities have been more common since the passing of a state law in September that redistributed juvenile offenders, forcing local facilities to accept more problematic teens, San Mateo County Chief Probation Officer Loren Buddress said.
Some officials said making Camp Glenwood more secure would radically change its function.
“Camp programs are designed to be a certain way — we provide drug and alcohol education, GED, work programs — they are a program more than they are a jail facility,” Peterson said. “If you change the security, you change the nature of what you can do in that program.”
Not everyone agreed, however, given the escape of an 18-year-old homicide suspect from San Mateo County Youth Services Center in February. That case is still being investigated.
“We’re completing the investigation of our juvenile hall, and it might make sense to add to that process the examination of Camp Glenwood,” San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon said.