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Juvenile Detention Center poised to open

Island County is ready to open its new Juvenile Detention Center in Coupeville. The 21-bed facility will serve as a comparatively pleasant incarceration site for local juveniles awaiting trial.

After extensive planning and effort on the part of the Juvenile Courts and the Island County government the facility is ready to open its doors.

Although primarily a building to jail juvenile offenders, the detention center offers much more to the youth that will spend their time there.

Services will include, at this point, education, medical, mental health, drug and alcohol counseling, support of aggression replacement training skills, visitation for families and case management services from probation counselors, according to Michael Merringer, Juvenile Detention Center administrator.

During their stay the juveniles will also have to keep up with schoolwork through the educational service district. In addition, the on-site classroom will have several computers online for distance learning.

“The new center should meet the needs of our community for awhile to come,” said Merringer. “Our average daily population for 2005 was 10. Given current detention population, it would be unlikely that the facility would fill up in the next few months.”

The benefits of the new center will not only go to the juveniles housed there, but to the community at large.

Not having to transport local juveniles will save the county some money in the long run and families of the youthful offenders won’t have to go very far to give support to them in their rehabilitation.

The new center is state of the art with touch-screen door locks and video monitoring. The 14 correctional officers working at the center will have the chance to create and mold a model detention facility from day one.

“Everything is top-notch, state of the art, “ Merringer said. “It should be a very successful facility.”

The official grand opening will be held on March 30 at noon at 501 North Main Street in Coupeville.

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