Ronaldi Rollins’ view from his corner office on the third floor is typical of metro Atlanta. A parking lot, some two-story apartment building, all nestled in the middle of a bunch of pine trees. Welcome to Jonesboro, Ga., command central for one juvenile probation officer in charge of 20 struggling teens. To pay a visit to Rollins, a kid has to make it past two levels of security. First, the metal detector and officer at the front door.
“Significant” injuries were reported after a fight Saturday in the Eastman Youth Development Center in Eastman, Ga. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident. Todd Lowery, assistant special agent in charge of GBI’s Eastman field office, told The Macon Telegraph, “There was some violence against some of the staff and some of the detainees.”
The GBI has not determined what caused the fight, although several youth were involved. According to a Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice press release, one detainee was sent to a an outside medical facility for treatment. Lowery told The Telegraph he didn’t know how severe the injuries were, but he said, “some of the injuries were significant.”
Central Florida’s Polk County has become the first jurisdiction in that state to make plans under a new state law to house juveniles who are awaiting trial in adult jail rather than in a state juvenile detention center, according to NewsChief.com, a Winter Haven, Fla., news site. That change was made possible because Polk Sheriff Grady Judd pushed state Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, to sponsor a bill in this year’s Florida Legislature that loosens the standards county jails must meet to house juveniles. The state currently charges counties $237 per day to hold each juvenile in pretrial detention, and that rate is expected to rise later this year. Judd told NewsChief.com that the county expects to spend $70-$90 per day per juvenile detainee. He predicts the switch will save the county around $1.5 million.
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced the closing of the second regional youth detention center (RYDC) in as many days. The 30-bed Blakely RYDC in Early County will close effective April 1. The decision to close the facilities came after the DJJ budget was cut by $5.4 million. DJJ Commissioner Amy Howell said the Griffin and Blakely RYDCs were chosen because of their proximity to other facilities and not performance. “The decision was more based on data and not operations,” said Howell. “The work at both of these facilities was outstanding.”
Last year, the DJJ said up to four facilities, Griffin, Blakely, Claxton and Gwinnett, could be closed. “I’m am totally flabbergasted by this news,” said Captain Phillip Law of the Early County Sheriff’s Department when reached at his office in Blakely. “We thought we had enough political pull to keep it open, but I guess we were wrong.”