Counties to share juvenile site
By KRISTY DAVIES
Gloucester County is regionalizing its Juvenile Detention Services with
Camden County to save taxpayers $1.7 million annually, officials say.
The current facility in the Clarksboro section of East Greenwich costs
about $2.5 million to run and houses an average of 10 youths at a time.
But effective April 1, Gloucester County will begin using the Camden
County facility in Gloucester Township.
"We've been looking at this for six years with various counties," said
Gloucester County Administrator Chad Bruner. "We didn't want to build a
new facility and over the past year and a half conversations have
intensified since (Camden County) built a new juvenile facility."
The two counties agreed Wednesday on a one-year contract with an option to
extend the term.
"It will cost us $650,000 to $750,000 a year to use the Camden County
Youth Center," Bruner said. "The contract is not to exceed $800,000."
Although the regionalization is expected to save taxpayers money, layoffs
"We will have to maybe lay off 12 to 15 people at the end of the 75 days,"
Bruner said. "We will try to transfer as many as we can. There might be a
couple of social workers who can go into openings in the next couple of
months. For the juvenile detention offices we can do governmental
Overcrowding is not a concern for officials from Gloucester County or
Camden County because of agreements with surrounding counties to handle
any overflow, they said.
The Camden County Youth Center has a capacity of 61 with a detention
population average of 49.
"If (Camden County) goes over that number we can send juveniles to
Cumberland County," Bruner said. "If the population swells to about 30
juveniles, we'll have to get back into the business."
The Camden County Youth Center opened its doors in late 2007.
"We're charging Gloucester County per diem per juvenile," said Camden
County Administrator Ross Angilella. "There may be additional staffing and
food costs. Taxpayers of Camden County can be assured we are using this
building in the most efficient way possible, bringing in business and, at
the same time, regionalizing a service that will benefit Gloucester County
taxpayers as well. It's a win-win."
Alternative sentences have resulted in a decrease in juvenile detention
populations across the state, Bruner said.
Once the Clarksboro facility is vacated, adult women could be moved there.
Weekenders and minimum-custody or nonviolent offenders and men who are in
work detail programs will be housed at the old women's facility, said
Reach Kristy Davies at (856) 486-2917 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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