Scotts Bluff County Board Chair Mark Masterton confirmed Thursday the county is preparing to once again accept juveniles at its detention center beginning September 7th.
The county has not been accepting juveniles for several months so the space can be used to house adults and keep the county in compliance with the State Jail Standards Board.
Recent corrections reform legislation has drastically reduced the number of juveniles in the local facility. But Masterton told KNEB News the county is planning to house juveniles again even though it still does not make economic sense.
Masterton says, ” We still can’t afford to do it. But I think it is our moral responsibility to have a juvenile facility here . We’re going to have to find a way to pay for it and I think we are on our way to do that. ”
Any juveniles showing violent behavior have been transferred recently to detention centers in the eastern end of the state, which has been inconvenient and costly for the county and local law enforcement. Adults the county is responsible for have been housed in communities as far away as Lexington, and Masterton says the plan is to save on transportation costs by making arrangements with neighboring counties
Masterton does not believe state certification of the county’s plan will be a problem. But he admits “the bottom line” is the commissioners will soon have to discuss adding on to its current facilities.
The juvenile center will continue to proved the same services as before , including educational/counseling from ESU#13, independent living and anger management classes, religious/equine/anti-bullying/Day programs, NA/AA and community service.