State Capitol News
5:38 pm
Wed March 10, 2010

Lawmakers not to make counties responsible for housing juvenile offenders

Phoenix, AZ – The plan hatched by Gov. Jan Brewer was to abolish the Department
of Juvenile Corrections. That would save the state $68 million a
year. But it would mean each of the state's 15 counties would
have to come up with a place to incarcerate those youngsters a
judge has determined are delinquent. That provoked an outcry from
counties who don't have the separate facilities that are legally
necessary, much less the money in their budgets. Under the deal,
the state will delay any shift until at least July 2011,
appointing a special commission to study if the move should take
place or whether there are better alternatives. Sen. Russell
Pearce said one option would be for the state to turn over the
three juvenile detention centers to Maricopa and Pima counties to
run.

(You could still use those same facilities, have them take over
the least requirements, obligations, to that property. Adobe
Mountain is on state trust land. So there's nothing except
allowing them to run it. You can do all of that. Nothing has to
change for that, other than who manages it. And those will all be
part of the discussion. But there's a lot of ways to do it.)

Under that scenario, other counties would then contract with the
two big counties to cover incarceration costs. As part of the
deal for the delay, the two largest counties will kick in $34
million to help defray costs for the next year. But the 13 rural
counties are off the financial hook. For Arizona Public Radio
this is Howard Fischer.