13 Investigates


Spring Mountain Youth Camp established to reform and restore troubled youth

Posted at 6:07 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 21:07:30-04

LAS VEGAS, NV (KTNV) — A teen is facing serious charges after assaulting a staff member at a youth detention facility.

13 Investigates first broke the story on Monday. Our continuing coverage raises questions about how the criminal justice system deals with minors.

As we first reported, a 15-year-old male was booked into the Clark County Detention Center after allegedly assaulting his mental health therapist. The incident happened Friday morning at the Spring Mountain Youth Camp on Mt. Charleston while they were on a walk outdoors during a therapy session.

The teen was charged with attempted murder and battery by strangulation on a protected person.

We've learned his case was transferred to Juvenile Court, and the therapist has been released from the hospital and is in good condition recovering at home.

While the case is pending, we're take a closer look at the Spring Mountain Youth Camp.

"It is probably one of the more unique facilities in all of juvenile justice in the United States," says Clark County Juvenile Court Judge William Voy who spoke with 13 Investigates in 2019.

Judge Voy decides where kids who get in trouble should go.

For the past 50 years, many have been sent to the Spring Mountain Youth Camp on Mt. Charleston. The county initially created the camp to give juvenile offenders better opportunity for reform and to encourage self-discipline. It houses boys of ages 12 to 18, and it's one of four facilities where the juvenile justice system places young offenders.

Although placement is not based on the offense and violent youths that can be sent here, the camp is on minimum security. Offenses range from probation violation, to burglary, even threats to shoot up a school. We also know teens convicted of sexual assault are sent to the camp. The only offenders barred from being here are those with arson convictions, or boys who might be a suicide risk.

The average stay is six months, and residents participate in a variety of programs to address things like substance abuse, anger management and social skills.

All boys placed at the camp must attend Spring Mountain School which is operated by the Clark County School District. There are also forestry and culinary programs to give offenders a path toward productivity.

However, despite its good intentions, the camp has had problems.

According to previous media reports, a youth offender assaulted a probation officer in December 2007, striking her several times with a bar of soap inside a sock. We reached out to Clark County Juvenile Justice Services for a response about Friday's incident. A county spokesperson said they can't comment due to the pending investigation.

For clarification, it's important to note that the recent case with a student at Eldorado High School is being charged as an adult for attempting to murder his teacher. That student, Jonathan Garcia is 16 years-old. Because he's 16, he's automatically considered an adult for the charge of attempted murder.

The teen in the Spring Mountain Youth Camp case is 15, so the DA's office has to petition the Juvenile court to have him certified as an adult. We are told that process could take weeks, or even months.

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