Counties to decide whether to continue support for center - KOTA Territory News

Counties to decide whether to continue support for juvenile center


Seven KOTA Territory counties help pay for Western South Dakota's Juvenile Services Center (JSC) located in Rapid City.  Now that it's almost paid for, it's decision time. Should they continue to pay for the facility's upkeep and guaranteed space for their troubled youth?
Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler isn't sure it's worth the money. When the facility was built in 1993, beds at JSC were at a premium, and being part of the compact meant guaranteed space.
But today, the average daily population is much lower, so bed space isn't usually much of an issue.

The low census is due at least in part to a new philosophy in recent years that locking up kids isn't always the best or most effective consequence.  "Right now we're paying $225 a day for JSC, but if we put a home detention monitor on them, it's only $10 a day.
Fewer kids in custody, and possibly fewer counties in the compact, mean there would be fewer dollars funneled into JSC.  Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom isn't worried. He says adjustments will be made to JSC's budget, just as they have been in recent years.

For the past 20 years, Custer County has been paying $15,000 per year to be in the compact.  The other counties either pay yearly installments or they paid a lump sum in 1993 when the facility opened. 

The counties in the compact are: Butte, Pennington, Meade, Custer, Fall River, Harding and Lawrence.  The compact agreement expires in November.

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