Las Vegas Sun

July 7, 2015

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Juvenile correctional center to be reopened in Las Vegas

CARSON CITY — The Summit View Youth Correctional Center in Las Vegas was closed after the 2011 Legislature because of lack of money, but plans are under way to reopen it later this year.

Meanwhile, the 51-year old Nevada Youth Training Center in Elko is going to be phased out.

Amber Howell, administrator of the state Division of Child and Family Services, outlined the plans today to legislative budget committees.

Instead of the state operating the center for juvenile offenders, Howell said, the division will seek a private contractor to run it.

Plans call for the center to be reopened with 35 beds and then grow to 60 beds. It has a capacity of 96 beds.

Mike Willden, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, told the committees that judges are not committing juveniles to Elko because, for one reason, it is far away from many youth’s families.

The Elko center has a capacity of 160 beds, but is only housing 65 to 75 youths. The division said it would require nearly $7 million in improvements, such as replacing the water system, to keep the center in Elko open.

Howell said the Caliente Youth Center, which houses male and female offenders, will continue to run at its 140 bed maximum this year.

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  1. Ahh capitalism. Nothing like a private, for profit prison. Say, we don't have mandatory minimum laws in Nevada, do we? Wouldn't that equal more profits for jailers? Boy, America sure is funny. I guess killing the poor doesn't boost anyone's stock portfolio....

  2. The Juvenile Corrections facility up in Elko, Nevada, is in servicable condition and should remain open to service the population in Northern Nevada. It is good that the Caliente Youth Center remains open and a viable option. There is a need for reopening the Juvenile Correctional Center here in Las Vegas.

    There is not much of a deterrent here within Clark County and Las Vegas to slow down or stop inappropriate or criminal behaviors in Southern Nevada. The school systems have in place behavioral expectations and policies, but due to the current situation with the juvenile corrections division, many reported cases are getting filtered to only the most severe, dangerous perpetraitors getting punished, incarcerated, or rehabilitated. Most youths with on-going behavioral problems are written up and given a talking to, then released back into the classrooms only to continue (after a few days or hours of checked behavior and the "honeymoon" is over with positive behaviors). All of their peers see this, and either decide to follow such footsteps or decide to steer clear.

    I wish our society didn't need such institutions, that mental health services were available for these youth at an early age, before finding troubles. Until our country addresses mental health, criminal behaviors will be on the rise, it's that simple. These detention centers have a legitimate purpose: they serve as a deterrent, also to separate those who are incourageable, to provide consequences, separate those who are a danger to themselves or others from the general public population, and provides a course for changing negative behaviors through rehabilitation education. Is it a perfect end all for troubled youth? NO. But it is what we have available now.

    Blessings and Peace,