I want to do a column series on County Juvenile over the next few weeks. My first subject is the Juvenile Detention Center, which was built by the County in 2000, 18 ago. When it was built, it addressed a major need for Atascosa and the surrounding counties. It also made it very convenient for our county to have the juvenile detainees here when we hold court. What many do not know is that there are very few other counties our size that have one. Outside of Bexar County, most of the counties (i.e. Kerr, Bandera, Comal, Medina, Frio, McMullen, LaSalle, Karnes, Wilson, Live Oak, etc.) do not have one. We are one of the few. In 2000, it was a good financial investment for the county because we charge the other counties a daily fee for holding their detainees. So, without seeing the financials from those days, I am assuming the county made money by collecting from other counties. The detention center has 36 regular beds in three pods and four isolation beds.
What has changed when I got here was that the state juvenile system has been discouraging lockup time for juveniles and fast turnaround on their treatment and adjudication plan. The change has been dramatic. It has resulted in the situation that our average detention head count has gone as low as four, and for the last few years, is averaging six to 10. Kerr County closed their center and we have gone up slightly. The result is that we have a vastly underused facility costing the county a lot of money. I have a plan for saving the facility rather than closing it. I will write next week about that plan. I am leaving Wednesday for one night to make a fast trip to Phoenix to see my granddaughter. I will be back Thursday night. Please say prayers for my granddaughter and my travel.
Thanks for listening.
We want you to be proud of your County Government.
BOB HURLEY is the Atascosa County Judge. You may E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.