Letters to the Editor

Feedback: No TV lounges in juvenile jail

We were pleased to read the article, “Bids On Juvenile Jail Sought,” regarding the Island County Juvenile Detention Center, and appreciate your coverage of our project to date.

Unfortunately, the article on the detention center inaccurately describes the dayrooms in the facility as “lounges with televisions.” On the contrary, there are no lounges, but rather dayrooms outside the secure sleeping rooms. The dayrooms will not have television for entertainment.

When the juveniles are not in the classrooms, the dayrooms will be used by the juveniles for group activities and presentations from outside service groups. There will be a television in the classroom, not the dayroom. But it will be used exclusively for education. Additional video presentations may be provided in the evenings, but only for those juveniles who, through good behavior, have earned the privilege.

The mission of the detention center is to prevent juvenile offenders from re-offending, by providing a wide variety of services in a secure and humane environment. The design of the Island County’s Juvenile Detention Center meets this mission. The detention center also provides accountability and protects the public.

The detention center will provide an austere setting in which we will be able to provide: substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, classroom education, a place for parents, relatives and friends to visit juvenile offenders, in our local community, and alternatives to full confinement, such as day reporting in appropriate cases.

After two years of planning, we are proud of our facility’s design, which has been strictly monitored by our Juvenile Court Administrator, Mike Merringer. During the design process, representatives from Island County participated in a federally sponsored training program, regarding the planning and building of juvenile detention centers. A citizen advisory board, composed of Island County citizens, worked with the design team to develop the facility’s mission and to ensure that all design elements remained compatible with our programing goals. Our architect, Kaplan, McLaughlin and Diaz (KMD), has designed juvenile detention facilities across the country. KMD has provided the extensive experience and expertise necessary for the many design decisions that have been made.

Extraordinary efforts have gone into planning the juvenile detention center. We have designed a facility that meets our mission of providing a secure and humane environment, where a wide variety of service will be offered to the children and families of Island County. The main purpose of any detention center, however, will always be detention for those individuals who have committed crimes.

We look forward to the opening of the facility in the near future.

Vickie I. Churchill and Alan R. Hancock

Superior Court Judges

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