Contra Costa County eliminates collect calls at juvenile halls

Collect calls from Glenn A. Davis Juvenile Hall in Martinez, and the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility in Byron have been eliminated, county officials said. 

The Contra Costa County Probation Department will now cover the cost when juveniles make calls from the facilities. 

"Eliminating this additional financial burden and creating a pathway for increased communication with loved ones is the right thing to do,'' said Chief Probation Officer Esa Ehmen-Krause in a  statement. 

Diane Burgis, the chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, praised the decision.

"In these challenging times, it's more important than ever that everyone stays connected to their families, especially youth, and I applaud the probation department for making it easier on families as we pursue the ultimate goal of reunification and living a healthy life," 

Additionally, in response to coronavirus health orders, the department began using virtual visitation last year amid the pandemic. 

The department said it plans to continue this service, also provided at no cost, even after on-site visitation resumes.