New juvenile facility opens in Crockett in old state school

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - A Crockett building thathas been empty for two and a half years now has new life. The Davy CrockettRegional Juvenile Center officially opened today in the old Crockett State School.

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

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

"It means we are openedfor business," Cornerstone regional director Jeff Parsons said. "It's great tosee our staff trained and energized."

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

Cornerstone is a privatejuvenile system. They already have a similar center in Garza County. Theprogram 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 ofresidents from Houston County.

Administrators hoped tohave 16 kids initially at the Crockett campus with room to grow to 108, butlast month ran into a road block when the Texas Juvenile Justice Departmentsaid they would not be sending kids to the facility after questions were raisedby the SCJC.

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

"We anticipate thatit will be resolved but for now we are opened for our various counties acrossthe state," Parsons said.

Despite not having thenumbers they wanted Cornerstone said they will still be opened since they alsohave juveniles coming in from county courts, which means only one of theinitial 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 familiarwith the county market. That was part of our plan all along, was to develop thecounty market."

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

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