Juvenile detention center in Miller Co. closing its doors for good
MILLER COUNTY, Ark. (KSLA) - A local lockup for juvenile offenders is closing its doors and now, these juveniles are being shipped to other areas for housing, leaving some employees without a job.
For nearly 30 years, incarcerated juveniles were locked behind the doors at the facility, but not anymore. The doors are now closed at the Lantz Lurry Juvenile Detention Center in Miller County, Ark. Officials stopped taking in juveniles in November and now, the last of the inmates have been transferred to another juvenile lockup facility.
On Wednesday, Dec. 28, the few remaining employees were cleaning and getting the facility ready for permanent closure.
For more than a year, county leaders have wrestled with the idea of closing the facility, citing the financial burden on the county. Officials said when first built, the City of Texarkana, Ark. had an agreement with Miller County to help with the cost of running the center, but for the past few years, the city has not held up its end of the agreement.
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When running at full staff, there were around 30 employees at the facility.
“I have 17 plus years in here and it’s a big disappointment they had to close the facility,” said Jackie Perkins, an employee.
“This was more than a job for me. I love the kids I had to work with. I love the people I worked with and it breaks my heart,” said Kathy Goosman, another employee.
Now, Texarkana and Miller County will have to send their juvenile offenders two hours away to Pine Bluff, Ark.
“We are sending the kids to Pine Bluff now, which we hope is going to be as good as it is out here,” said Beckar Hobson, acting director of the facility.
“We are going to miss this place and we need to come together and open this back up for the kids. There is a lot happening out here in the world today,” said Taveno Lee, another employee.
County Judge Cathy Harrison said the closure has already netted the county more than $500,000 in savings.
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