San Diego County Probation Department Star Graphic

Urban Camp

URBAN CAMP -Male Residents

The male custodial residents at the Urban Camp are presently comprised of youth committed to Breaking Cycles commitments of 365, 240, 150, and youth committed to Breaking Cycles Barrett Program 365 commitments. The age range for the youth committed to Breaking Cycles is 14-17.6 years old and the age range for the Barrett committed population is 16.5-18 years old. The Breaking Cycles Barrett Program provides a longer term commitment option to the Juvenile Court at the local level, with programming geared toward the more seriously delinquent youth who may otherwise face lengthy out of home placements in state facilities or the Department of Juvenile Justice. At the Urban Camp, the two populations reside side by side, yet programming for each population is separate and distinct.

  • Base Camp Dorm:  This Dorm houses the youngest youth, generally between the ages of 14 to 16 years old.
  • Ascent Dorm:This Dorm houses youth 16 to 17 years old. 
  • Summit Dorm: This Dorm houses the oldest youth, ages 17 to 18 years old.

Youth committed to Breaking Cycles commitments of 365, 240, 150, are assessed within the first 2 weeks after disposition, to either an 84 or 56-Day Breaking Cycles program. In contrast, all Breaking Cycles Barrett Program youth serve a 224-Day base program and approximately 2-3 weeks prior to release, all Breaking Cycles Barrett Program youth participate in a Pre-Release Multi-Disciplinary Team assessment. 

The goal of the Urban Camp is to provide the youthful offender with the training and skills necessary for successful transition and reintegration into society.

For information on the Girls Urban Camp  please select the link below.    



Breaking Cycles 365/240/150

Expand All | Collapse All

  • Program Elements:

    The youth residing in this open setting have been committed for 56 days, 84 days, or 28 days (Drug Court). All of these youth follow the same structure, complete the same programming, and have access to the same on-site services. They attend school as they would in the community, with a focus on restoring lost credits and advancing as expected for their age and grade level.


  • Daily Program Participation:

    This entails compliance with all camp rules and procedures, and behavior that is disciplined and respectful. Profanity, gang-related behavior, and violence will result in sanctions and the loss of privileges. 

  • “Forward Thinking”

    Mandatory substance abuse treatment programming is attended by every youth in the dorm. Each youth must complete the core mandatory curriculum, for which they do not earn points. The youth will receive a certificate and phone call home to share their progress after the competition of the mandatory core modules. There are three core module identified as the most pertinent material for short-term commits. The modules; What Got Me Here, Responsible Behavior, and Individual Change Plan are formatted as journal booklets, 48 pages in length. Each journal contains educational information, questions, exercises, and writing assignments

  • Forward Thinking Extra Credit:

    There are five optional program journals the youth can choose to complete for incentive points toward an improved release date. The modules are normally included in the Forward Thinking curriculum as mandatory materials, but they are only feasible with longer commits. This allows the youth an opportunity to choose this course of study to further their personal growth and substance abuse knowledge, while earning additional incentive points. Each journal booklet is 40-64 pages in length and promotes self-exploration and learning with questions, exercises, and writing assignments.  Each of the journals focuses on a different aspect of change and insight relevant to this population:  Handling Difficult Feelings, Relationships and Communication, Substance Using Behaviors, Victim Awareness, and Reentry Planning. The journals are assigned by the Program Counselor one booklet at a time, and they must be completed in a thorough, thoughtful manner for credit to be received. The youth are only permitted to work on the journals in the dorm during their free-time and free recreation periods. Each of the five journals is worth one day toward the youth’s release date.


  • Perfect Week Incentive:

    For every week (seven days) passed without the loss of points for poor behavior, the youth receive extra points equivalent to one full day. Incentive points are applied to the youth’s overall point total, thus reducing their commit.

  • Team Leaders:

    Well behaved youth who have shown they are responsible and able to act as role models for their peers, may be selected by officers to be Team Leaders. Team Leaders are workers in the dorm responsible for motivating and guiding the youth in their teams (15 youth per team) through the program’s daily activities. They set an example and provide prompts to keep their groups on task and functioning as teams. Team Leaders duties also include; cleaning, laundry, passing out clothing and supplies to other youth, and maintenance of the dorm and surrounding grounds. There are four Team Leader positions at any given time. This challenging position is incentivized with additional free time, access to video games and a radio, and a later bedtime.

  • Gold Hat:

    A Gold Hat is a promotional opportunity for Team Leaders. There are only two gold hat positions in the dorm at any given time. These youth perform all of the duties of team leaders, but they have shown excellent citizenship and strong leadership skills with their peers; they promote peaceful, respectful behavior and cohesion to help the dorm work together as one unit. Gold hats receive the same incentives as team leaders, but they have earned the trust and freedom to run errands and make deliveries within the facility.

  • Extra points:

    Extra points may also be awarded to the youth for outstanding acts of citizenship or leadership, or for exemplary growth in the dorm community. This allows counseling staff, school personnel, officers and supervisors who interact with the youth on a daily basis to make recommendations based on their observations of exceptional behavior.


    Once maximum points/days earned are achieved, youth must maintain good behavior, while they continue to earn other incentives/privileges. Youth may at times be eligible for days beyond these guidelines. Release dates are subject to change based on holidays, special circumstances, and when necessary to optimize a youth’s release plans.

Breaking Cycles - Barrett Program

Expand All | Collapse All

  • Program Description:

    The goal of the Breaking Cycles - Barrett Program is to provide youth with the training and skills necessary for successful reintegration into the community. To accomplish this goal, each youth is required to attend school, and complete a demanding, structured program. The program uses the Steps to Success model which is designed to pair youth with staff to evaluate their program participation by identifying their strengths and needs. The youth will work to develop new life and coping skills, to take responsibility for their actions, and to discover their need and motivation to change. The Steps to Success program allows the youth to earn points for positive behavior and accomplishments, while the points move them forward through the phases to transition home. The youth need to pass five phases and complete task assignments during each phase. Every youth will have a Phase Review with a Senior Probation Officer as they get close to reaching their point goals in each phase. Task Assignments are turned in and approved before the youth can pass to the next phase.

  • Team Leader Program:

    youth can apply for this leadership positions in the dorm. Team Leaders are selected by the officers in the dorm based on good program performance and initiative. The position allows the youth to provide advice, guidance and good examples to peers who are part of their team. The youth also earn points for attaining and keeping this leadership position.

  • School Programs:

    School is an extremely important part of the program. Youth are expected to pass their classes academically and behaviorally. There are different educational options available to best suit each youth’s individual needs.

    • High School Diploma, Urban Camp High School offers a complete high school diploma program that includes the preparation and completion of a Senior Project.  Urban Camp High School has the highest number of graduates of any of the County Office of Education high school programs.
    • High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) Program, the HiSET program offers an opportunity for some youth who didn’t finish high school to earn a diploma and get on track for college or a career.  Urban Camp High School offers preparation for youth eligible to take the HISET test which  is offered on a monthly basis at Urban Camp.
    • College Education, once a youth has received their high school diploma or a HISET they have the option to further their education and earn college credits online while at Urban Camp.


  • Substance Abuse Education:

    Substance abuse education is a key component to addressing the factors and behaviors that lead to incarceration.

    • McAlister Institute Substance Abuse Program, provides education, treatment and counseling. This program offers a comprehensive range of substance abuse treatment using a cognitive behavioral intervention model. The McAlister program is an evidence-based program shown to have one of the lowest recidivism rates statistically validated. McAlister also provides wrap around recovery services that include intervention, individual and group counseling, individualized treatment planning and case management, family involvement, and referrals for services in the community
    • McAlister Institute Family Therapy, the program facilitators provide family therapy with the youth and families to strengthen familial bonds. A trained McAlister Institute family therapy facilitator leads the sessions along this path of positive social connections and reunification.
  • Career Technical Education:

    In addition, the San Diego County Office of Education provides the following programs through their Career Technical Education (CTE) system.

    • Culinary Arts (California Technical Education) Program, this course is offered by the County Office of Education (COE) in cooperation with the Sheriff’s Food Service. The program prepares youth for jobs in the food industry. Eligible students will be able to take the ServSafe Certification test for national certification as a food handler.  County Food Handlers certification will also be offered to participants.  Each graduate will receive a County Office of Education ROP Certificate for his participation.
    • Fire Science Program at Urban Camp High School (California Technical Education), the Fire Science program at Urban Camp is designed to educate and train students in Wildland Firefighting concepts, strategies, and tactics. The curriculum is established and coordinated by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive three nationally recognized wildland firefighting training certifications. These certifications, along with a High School Diploma or GED, lay the foundation to obtain entry level Wildland Firefighter employment.
    • Graphic Design (California Technical Education) Program, this course provides instruction in the art of graphic designs, stencils, and computer assisted models.
    • Horticulture (California Technical Education) Program, this is an 8-10 week course preparing the youth for work opportunities in the landscaping and horticulture marketplace.  The classroom instruction will be supplemented by on-the-job training on pre-approved projects.
    • Work Readiness (California Technical Education) Program, this course provides work readiness information including vocational training testing, job search techniques, resume completion, interview techniques and job retention.  The youth completing the program will have a portfolio containing a resume, job application, reference letter, cover letter and thank you letter materials.  They will learn about “one stop” and job centers and participate in a Resource Fair.  In addition, once the youth are released the instructor will be available in the community, to assist graduates transitioning into educational, career and work opportunities.
  • Other Programming offered:
    • BridgeWays classes include: SUD low/high (Criminal Conduct and Substance Abuse Treatment or Seeking Safety), Character Traits (Power Source-Taking Charge of Your Life and What Do You Stand For?), and ART (Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions A Comprehensive Curriculum for Juveniles and Aggression Replacement Training).
    • Parenting Classes, this class will be offered to Urban Camp youth who are current and soon-to-be fathers. The youth meet once a week for instruction and education on the roles and expectations of responsible parenting.  The goal of this group is to provide basic information for participants to learn positive parenting skills and to encourage their appropriate involvement in the raising of their child/children. The parenting programming at Urban Camp facilitates visits for the youth, and their babies, to further support and encourage the parental bond.
    • Reading Legacies - Family Connections Program, Reading Legacies provides “family connections” for the youth with children or younger siblings. The youth attend a workshop about why shared-reading is important to children. Then they choose a children’s book from the library and read it aloud while being recorded on DVD. The children receive these special DVDs and books through the mail allowing them to stay connected while they are away.
    • Teen Relationship Violence (TRV), all Urban Camp youth are required to attend this 7-session program.  The TRV workshops are based on experiential learning rather than lecturing, and are designed to define dating violence and challenge beliefs that relate to violent behavior.  The 90-minute workshops are structured specifically for incarcerated adolescents. 
    • HIV/STD EDUCATION: these classes are offered by the San Ysidro Health Center once a month for 2 hours with a focus on HIV/STD symptoms, transmission and prevention.
    • Cal I.D. Program, Urban Camp helps residents obtain their Cal I.D. which can be critical in their transition back to the community.  The Cal I.D. is often needed for continuing education, vocational programs, internships, etc.  Funding for this program comes from Inmate Welfare.

General Information about Urban Camp (UC): 

Expand All | Collapse All

  • Drug Court Commits

    On occasion, youth are committed from Drug Court to complete the Urban Camp/GRF program. These minors will complete the program with the same expectations as the minors with Breaking Cycles commitments.

  • STOP Commitments

    On occasion a youth will be committed to the 21 DAY STOP Program and will fulfill their commitment at Urban Camp/GRF. Youth must successfully pass 21 days to be eligible for release. GRF Parents do not need to attend orientation and their daughters will not be eligible for personal hygiene items.

  • Programs

    There are 5 phases that each youth must pass in order to be eligible for release. These phases are Boarding, Departure, Journey, Arrival, and Destination. Each phase has expectations, as well as earned privileges. Part of this requirement is that each youth completes all Task Curriculum- Autobiography, Offense Ownership, Victim Empathy, Relapse and Recidivism Plan, Special Program Essay, School and Work Essay, 6 month and 1 year goals, and an Exit Summary. Once they pass a phase they become eligible for the privileges of the next phase.

  • Release Information

    Two to three weeks prior to the youths scheduled release, her Probation Officer is notified and all the necessary paperwork is initiated. The parent or guardian will be contacted by probation staff the day prior to the youth’s release. The parents will be instructed to bring clean clothes and shoes for the youth. The parent will also need to provide identification for the youth to be released to them.

  • Treatment Components

    Each youth is assigned to an officer who is responsible for ensuring that the youth participates in the various programs which address their treatment needs.

  • Spiritual Programs

    Visits by various churuch groups are avaialble to interested youth.  Youth may request to speak to a clergypeson of any  faith. Probation staff will make every effort to arrange positive visits with appropriate clergyperson(s).


Expand All | Collapse All