Georgia’s budget troubles surfaced today when the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced the closing of one of its youth detention centers, while its top official acknowledge that another shuttering would be announced in the coming days.
The DJJ said the Griffin Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC), a 30-bed facility south west of Atlanta, would be closed due to the department’s budget shortfall of $5.4 million.
DJJ Commissioner Amy Howell later told the JJIE another facility would also be closed, but declined to say which one.
“We will be announcing the closure of another facility in the coming days,” said Howell.
The DJJ runs 22 RYDC’s in the state, including the one in Griffin. Last year, the DJJ said up to four facilities, Griffin, Blakely, Claxton and Gwinnett, could be closed.
She also said that youth at the Griffin facility would have to be relocated, but they would be sent to facilities close by. She said keeping them close to their families will be a top consideration.
The press release quoted Howell as saying, “The current economic challenges have forced the state to incur reductions in the budget. We remain steadfast and committed to keeping our communities safe, serving DJJ youth, and preparing our youth to help build a better Georgia.”
Howell explained that the facility’s 57 staff members would not lose their jobs, but be offered positions at other DJJ facilities.