NEWSBRIEF: Boys Totem Town to suspend operations beginning Aug. 1

Ramsey County’s Director of Community Corrections, John Klavins, announced May 21 that Boys Totem Town will suspend operations indefinitely beginning Aug. 1. At that time, the last of six youth currently at the residential treatment facility will have completed the program. 

“In Ramsey County, we have seen a steady and significant 60% decline in the number of youth in correctional placements over the past four years — including at Boys Totem Town,” said Klavins. “We regularly had between 20 and 30 youth in the program as recently as five years ago.”

Klavins attributed the declines to ongoing system-wide efforts through the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and related “Deep-End” reforms. This collaborative effort has a focus on maintaining public safety while reducing confinement through greater use of community alternatives such as functional family therapy and culturally-specific services. Further, the trend aligns with a general reduction in crime rates over the past several years in Ramsey County. 

“Our Boys Totem Town staff have done phenomenal work — around the clock — on behalf of our youth,” said Klavins. “We’re committed to working with each of these 42 employees and our labor representatives to identify meaningful opportunities where our youth, families, community and organization can continue to benefit from their expertise and skills at Ramsey County.”

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a workshop on Boys Totem Town on Tuesday, May 28, following the regular 9 a.m. Board of Commissioners meeting at the St. Paul City Hall and Ramsey County Courthouse at 15 West Kellogg Blvd. in downtown St. Paul. The workshop will be in Suite 200 on the second floor and is open to the public.

The residential treatment facility for adolescent boys has been in operation for more than 100 years in the Battle Creek neighborhood of St. Paul. In the months ahead, county leaders will engage with local city and neighborhood partners and other stakeholders about potential long-term future uses of the 85-acre site.

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