Grants Pass, Ore. — More than five years after it closed, the Josephine County Juvenile Detention Center is preparing to reopen. Thursday night, the doors opened at the facility so voters could see where the money they approved in May went.
“When the funding finally went away and we had to close the doors – it was tragic not only for the community because we lost the resource, but for staff that had a lot of investment in the lives of these kids,” said Jim Goodwin, director for Josephine County Juvenile Justice.
Goodwin was one of those staff members back in 2012 when he was a program manager.
“We’ve struggled for the past 5 1/2 years, renting beds from neighboring counties,” Goodwin said.
But now, as director – he’ll get to witness the day it opens back up, and with a new look.
“We have flooring, paint, all the fixtures, really from top to bottom,” Goodwin said.
A turn-around made possible in just eight months since the county’s public safety levy passed on the May ballot.
“A full facelift,” Goodwin said.
Part of the detention center’s facelift is a state-of-the-art security camera system. It allows for communication between inmates and staff with just the push of a button.
“It’s a completely different world when a youth is given a paper and told to show up in court weeks down the road,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin says going through the motions of intake can make a bigger impact on a kid.
“Law enforcement will see an immediate improvements because they’ll now have a place and a resource to take kids that they come in contact with and that’s been a real frustration for them and the community for years now,” Goodwin said.
The juvenile detention center is set to begin operations Tuesday morning. The juvenile jail and youth shelter held an open house Thursday until 8 p.m. Anyone was welcome to stop by, take a tour, and ask questions. The county said once it starts intaking clients, no one but authorized staff will be allowed access.
Along with the jail, Turning Point youth shelter will also be reopening. The shelter is mainly for dependent youth, which are kids that have abuse or neglect in their background.
Turning Point allows kids 12 to 17 a place to stay to reintegrate them back into the community, whether that means getting them into foster care or back into their regular home. The shelter is still undergoing renovations, and should be up and running within two to three weeks.