New juvenile facility opens in Crockett in old state school - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

New juvenile facility opens in Crockett in old state school

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CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) -

A Crockett building that has been empty for two and a half years now has new life. The Davy Crockett Regional Juvenile Center officially opened today in the old Crockett State School.

The opening comes as scheduled despite some objections by the Texas State Senate Justice Committee.

People involved with the new center said it is a day they have been waiting for.

"It means we are opened for business," Cornerstone regional director Jeff Parsons said. "It's great to see our staff trained and energized."

"It's a huge boost for the city and the county," Houston County Judge Erin Ford said. "It means real jobs for citizens here."

Cornerstone is a private juvenile system. They already have a similar center in Garza County. The program ran at the facility is a six to nine months. Over the last month, employees from the other unit have been training a staff made primarily of residents from Houston County.

Administrators hoped to have 16 kids initially at the Crockett campus with room to grow to 108, but last month ran into a road block when the Texas Juvenile Justice Department said they would not be sending kids to the facility after questions were raised by the SCJC.

"I was surprised," Ford said. "It was beyond my imagination that the head of the criminal justice committee would not know that we were in the process of moving towards a new detention facility in Houston County."

"We anticipate that it will be resolved but for now we are opened for our various counties across the state," Parsons said.

Despite not having the numbers they wanted Cornerstone said they will still be opened since they also have juveniles coming in from county courts, which means only one of the initial 16 is on the grounds right now.

"[It is] discouraging," Parsons said. "I mean there is a portion of that, but really, we are very familiar with the county market. That was part of our plan all along, was to develop the county market."

Officials are still optimistic that the state will reverse its decision to withhold juveniles from the facility.

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