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Detention Center manager hired

Taking care of the children.

That will be the mission of Gerald Murphy once he takes the helm of the county’s new Juvenile Detention Facility. Murphy was recently announced as the facility’s top manager. He begins his tenure at the end of June.

“We will try to be a mentor to the kids while they’re there,” Murphy said.

Murphy said that he will focus on having the detention center be a part of the community. He said he does not want the facility to have the same stigma that prisons have.

“You’re not going to be threatened or abused when you come here,” Murphy said.

Rehabilitating offenders has been the focus of Murphy’s career. He holds bachelor degrees in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Washington State University. He comes to the county as the former Pierce County juvenile detention center manager. Before that, he worked in various group homes for 15 years.

“This will be a change to the smaller community,” he said. “But we get a chance to start the program from the ground up.”

Quite literally, in fact. The facility is still being constructed. Some of the external brickwork has been completed for the building, which is attached to the current Island County Jail.

Juvenile Services Administrator Mike Merringer said that Murphy edged out 14 other applicants for the position. Murphy brings an extensive background with administrative procedures and the corrections work, which gives him the skill set the county wanted.

Merringer said that Murphy and two other finalists had to endure “the most intense interview that I have ever been involved with.”

Murphy said he hopes he will be able to get a lot of support from the community to make sure the juvenile offenders ordered to spend time in the facility come out better than they were.

“We’ll hopefully be able to get the community involved with (Narcotics Anonymous) and (Alcoholics Anonymous),” Murphy said.

Murphy said that his experience will help him adjust to new people and new offenders.

“I’ve been around the block,” he said. “I’ve been in the system for 22 years.”

The facility is expected to open around the beginning of 2006.

You can reach News-Times reporter Eric Berto at eberto@whidbeynewstimes.com

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