Tuesday, August 03, 1999

Opening day at youth jail

Facility's for inmates ages 12-17

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — The $4.3 million Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center opened for business Monday and survived the day with few bumps.

        Somebody had to run out for salt and pepper. The phone system transferred the boss's calls to the wrong number. The intake computer crashed on the first inmate. And the shoe department didn't have enough of one size.

        “We have found some bugs,” said Superintendent Gary Taylor. “But we're working on them pretty well. None of them were major.”

        He got a good surprise too — $5,000 from Kenton County Jailer Terry Carl. The money was from the Kenton canteen fund, the pot of money juvenile inmates paid into to buy extras, such as snacks. The jail got a portion of the proceeds, and Mr. Carl decided to give the money to the new facility.

        “He said, "Do something for the kids with this,'” Mr. Taylor said.

        “He didn't have to do that.”

        The money will be used to buy art supplies and video games.

        The new juvenile center will house 52 residents, both boys and girls, between the ages of 12 and 17.

        It is responsible for 15 Kentucky counties, encompassing Northern Kentucky north of a line drawn roughly from Mason to Oldham counties.

        The new center is very different from the one the Kenton County juveniles left Monday. Its workers aren't deputies, they're called youth workers. They wear golf shirts and Dockers, not uniforms. All of that is part of an image the state is trying to create.

        “The terminology is different,” Mr. Taylor said. “We're trying to show them that we don't think they're criminals. They may have done something wrong once, but most of them will leave here and go home.”

        The center expects to house 1,400 juveniles a year.

        Mr. Carlwasn't sorry to see the juvenile inmates be transferred from his facility to Newport. All 17 of them, transferred one at a time starting Monday morning, were expected to be gone by Monday night, Mr. Taylor said.

        The space they vacated will be painted and fixed up to accommodate more adults, space the facility badly needs.

        The jail's capacity of 262 is exceeded regularly, with numbers on weekends sometimes jumping to “360, 370, 380,” the jailer said.


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