Juvenile inmates headed to old Angelina Co. Jail during juvie center upgrades

Angelina Co. Chief Juvenile Officer, Mark Gorman
Angelina Co. Chief Juvenile Officer, Mark Gorman

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The Angelina County Juvenile Detention Facility has desperately needed updating for years. This fall, it'll become a reality.

"We've been very fortunate it lasted twenty years so it's just time to get it up to code," said Mark Gorman, Angelina Co. Chief Juvenile Officer.

Gorman describes the renovations as a "total overhaul" of the facility. At the same time, it creates a big problem.

"That's been the million dollar question. What are we going to do with the kids while we renovate the inside of this facility?"said Gorman.

A committee of county leaders suggested the old Angelina County Jail. Sheriff Kent Henson says he's been looking for a new use for the empty building.

"God sent blessing is exactly what it was. It just came in the perfect time," said Sheriff Kent Henson.

County juvenile justice officials believe it shouldn't be difficult to get temporary approval from the state commission for eight to eleven beds.

Gorman says anything not up to juvenile standards can be waive red on a temporary basis. The best part... the savings of not having to pay for contract housing in Anderson County.

"Would cost seventy-five dollars a day per kid. Plus, be an inconvenience on law enforcement," said Gorman.

Using the empty jail in Lufkin will also eliminate the cost of officers transporting juveniles to a facility an hour away. A situation that solves several county problems at once... at least for now.

The issue of finding a tenant for the old jail will be re-addressed when the juveniles move back out.

The kids held at the old jail will move in sometime in October, and could stay as long as 12 weeks while the juvenile detention center is renovated.

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