County Executive Falk Announces Beginning of Construction for Juvenile Detention Facility
February 17, 2006
Lesley Sillaman, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
Madison – Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced the kick-off of the construction of a new juvenile detention facility by summer 2007. The kick-off begins with the demolition of the most of the second-floor space in the City-County building, recently vacated by the Dane County Court offices. The new facility will cost $6.7 million to build, including all planning, construction and furnishing.
The facility will take the place of the current detention center, housed on the third floor of the City-County Building, and will house juveniles who have been placed in detention by Dane County Circuit Court judges. The new facility will be larger than the current one, with 6 additional beds (from 18 to 24 beds). The increased space will be used for education (larger classrooms and a computer room), improved programming space, and more areas for juveniles to visit with relatives.
Dane County is a leader in the state because we use a combination of innovative alternatives to juvenile detention to keep kids out of institutions. Over many years, the county’s Juvenile Court Program, the juvenile judges, the county’s Human Services department and various non-profit groups have worked together to build a system that invests in a comprehensive range of programs, including supervision, counseling, education, restitution and community service, and skill-building activities for juveniles who have committed delinquent acts. Due to the success of these investments, the County can keep kids here, rooted in their communities and close to family, instead of institutionalizing them in facilities often not in the county they live in and at a cost that ranges from $55,000 to $90,000 a year. In contrast, many jurisdictions around the nation build larger, more jail-like detention facilities, costing millions of dollars more to operate.
“This facility, along with the rest of our alternative to detention programs for juvenile offenders, will protect public safety while at the same time helping kids get back on the right track,” said Falk. “Our use of existing space in the City-County Building helps save taxpayer dollars.”
“Thank you to the County Executive and the County Board for working with us in the juvenile division to plan and carry out the modification of the detention facility,” said Judge John Albert, Dane County’s Presiding Juvenile Judge.
“It’s great to see this project moving forward,” said Jim Moeser, Director of the Dane County Juvenile Courts Program. “It will enhance our ability to both safely confine youth that need to be placed here and to provide services and programs to youth that will help them become responsible members of our community.”
Dane County has invested in a comprehensive array of programs that hold delinquent youths accountable and protect the community. Many of the programs are operated as part of the Human Services’ Neighborhood Intervention Program (NIP) and through a contract with Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin for the Community Adolescent Program (CAP).
Dane County spends $1.3 million a year to support NIP, which is dedicated to redirecting at-risk youth by holding them accountable, building youth competencies and protecting the community. The NIP program includes varying levels of supervision and monitoring by social worker, based on the youth’s needs.
Dane County spent more than $500,000 last year on the CAP program that provides intensive supervision for up to 30 kids at a time. It includes counseling, and curfew checks to ensure kids are staying out of trouble and meeting the expectations and restrictions placed on them by juvenile court.
“In Dane County, we are working smarter,” said Falk. “Instead of building new, multi-million dollar youth jails, we are protecting the community and helping youth by using space we already own and continuing to invest in effective, comprehensive programs that help our kids stay out of trouble.”