Scott County lays out plans for new Youth Justice & Rehabilitation Center

Scott County lays out plans for Youth Justice & Rehabilitation Center
Scott County lays out plans for Youth Justice & Rehabilitation Center(KWQC)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 12:00 AM EST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The group in charge of designing a new juvenile detention center presented its plans to the Scott County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Nov. 23.

The proposed Youth Justice and Rehabilitation center Includes outdoor spaces and calls for more color and natural light.

The current director of Scott County Juvenile detention said these details allow for a better rehabilitation environment.

“We understand that the reason why a lot of them are there is because they have witnessed trauma in their past,” Jeremy Kaiser said. “What we don’t want to do is recreate trauma or further traumatize them while they’re detained with us.”

Plans also called for expansion from 18 beds to 40 beds, as the current facility exceeded its operational capacity of 14 juveniles, 51 of the last 52 months, as of October.

The presentation estimated the new facility will cost $21.7 million to build.

According to Kaiser, expansion increases their operational expenses, as Iowa requires one staff member for every five juveniles in custody.

“That cost is basically the same as if we were to send them out to other facilities, which is what we currently do,” Kaiser said.

Every Scott County Supervisor agreed that an updated facility is needed. However, Ken Croken argues expansion is not the answer.

“Let’s face it, if we could arrest and jail our way to public safety, it would have worked by now,” Croken said. “It doesn’t work.”

Vice-chair of the board John Maxwell said the issue of preventing youth crime doesn’t have a binary solution.

“They’re not mutually exclusive,” Maxwell said. “We’re saying we have a nice juvenile detention center, and — and is the critical word here — we have all the programs that get in front of the train.”

The next steps include finalizing funding and a location, which Kaiser said he wants input on.

“We plan to be good neighbors,” Kaiser said. “We want to listen and work with folks to make sure that we are good neighbors to wherever we decide to build.”

Kaiser said the goal is to break ground by the fall of 2022 for construction to be completed by the fall of 2023.

The full presentation to the board can be found on the Scott County Website.

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