Juvenile Detention Center Dedication Saturday
Dedication of a new regional Juvenile Detention Center for Natrona County happens this weekend. The facility built next to the adult detention center in Casper will be open to the public from 11 to 1pm on Saturday.
Construction began last year on the 24-bed 27 thousand square foot building that replaces the current juvenile detention facility in the Hall of Justice.
Governor Matt Mead will attend the dedication along with his Policy Advisor on Juvenile Justice, retired Judge, Gary Hartman.
"The current facility, where the youth are being held in the old adult jail in Natrona County, has its shortcomings. So being able to move into a new facility, which adds protection for the kids, and gives them an opportunity to have exercise is a great step forward for Natrona County and hopefully the state of Wyoming."
The conversation is slow moving on how to create a better system in Wyoming for handling youth moving through the judicial system. There's lots of disagreement. Hartman says a group made up of lawmakers, juvenile justice officials and others are actively working on the issue. And Hartman says detention is only one part of the picture, "Detention is just part of the continuum of services that juveniles need and it's at the far end after we've tried other things and they don't work. Certainly detention is a form of the continuum that is very expense and very hard to deal with."
For some, Hartman says, detention is an important part of the process and hopefully this will be a better facility for detaining the minors who need it.
The bulk of the 10 million dollar price tag on the building came from Federal stimulus with three million coming from Natrona County.