Paying for time
Millions of dollars are coming out of your pockets every year to pay for youth that are serving time in a juvenile detention facility.
Right now between the Albany Regional Youth Detention Center and the Crisp Regional Youth Detention Center there are 109 youth housed in the facilities. Each of these youth costs $101,068.50 per year; so for 109 youth, taxpayers are paying $11,016,824 a year towards keeping these youth in the facilities.
Here's a breakdown of that $101,068,50:
Security -- $112.50 per day ($41,062.50 per year)
Administration -- $37.78 per day ($13,789.70 per year)
Education -- $31.35 per day ($11,442.75 per year)
Medical Services -- $21.44 per day ($7,825.60 per year)
Maintenance -- $20.30 per day ($7,409.50 per year)
Food Service -- $14.95 per day ($5,456.75 per year)
Behavioral Health -- $11.64 per day ($4,248.60 per year)
Lapse -- $10.22 per day ($3,730.30 per year)
Facility Case Management -- $7.63 per day ($2,784.95 per year)
Care & Custody -- $2.66 per day ($970.90 per year)
Dental Services -- $1.72 per day ($627.80 per year)
SMART -- $1.63 per day ($594.95 per year)
Warehouse -- $.78 per day ($284.70 per year)
DOE Title I -- $.69 per day ($251.85 per year)
POST Training -- $.46 per day ($167.90 per year)
DOE Title VI-B -- $.43 per day ($156.95 per year)
PREA -- $.39 per day ($142.35 per year)
Non-POST Training -- $.19 per day ($69.35 per year)
CJCC Drug Rehab -- $.14 per day ($51.10 per year)
Base bed cost per day -- $276.91
When asked who pays for these costs, the Tift County Juvenile Court Judge Render Heard said, "taxpayers, certainly, all of it comes down through Atlanta, through the state, and it's divvied up between the regions and YDC's but it's all basically coming out of our pockets."
This heavy burden on the taxpayers is part of the reason for the Juvenile Justice Reform also known as House Bill 242. This bill addresses how juvenile court judges look at youth and for minor offenses how they can keep these kids in the community rather than locking them up.
But in order for this to work, the counties have to have an evidence based program already in place by the time the bill goes into effect, which is January 2014. The reason it has to be evidence based is so they know it will work; these programs could be anything from having a mentor to being involved in a community service project.
FOX 31 asked Judge Heard if he thinks the reform will work and he replied, "I hope so, I think it will work, it can't be much worse than where we're at right now. We've got a 65% recidivism rate within three years, that's pretty bad and it's very expensive so we've been fighting this battle for many years now with a very dull sword."
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