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Tue, March 19

County mulls using Camp Verde jail for juveniles

PRESCOTT – Yavapai County supervisors are exploring the option of using part of the new Camp Verde county jail addition for juveniles.

The addition, set to open as early as this month, includes a special 44-bed pod for "remanded juveniles," or juveniles who face adult charges. State law requires counties to hold them separate from other children and adults.

If the county's only regular juvenile detention center in Prescott continues to be full, the county might be able to use the remanded juvenile pod temporarily for juveniles charged with juvenile crimes, County Administrator Jim Holst suggested Thursday.

Officials decided Wednesday to explore the feasibility, cost and need for that idea.

Right now, Yavapai County pays Coconino County to house its remanded juveniles. Coconino houses about two to three remanded juveniles at a time for this county, officials estimated. Last year, this county remanded 12 juveniles to adult court.

About one-third of the children in the regular detention center come from the Verde Valley, Juvenile Court Services Director Gordon Glau said. Another 25 percent come from Prescott, 16 percent from Prescott Valley and 9 percent from Chino Valley.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote Monday on whether to ask county voters to double the Yavapai County Jail District's quarter-cent sales tax to cover increasing adult jail costs.

Holst said the supervisors haven't considered also asking voters to expand the tax revenue's use to include the juvenile justice facilities, since the adult jails probably will need all the money.

Supervisors again agreed Thursday that they need to schedule a study session about future building needs so they can conduct more organized long-term planning.

Right now, it seems like they're playing a "shell game," Board of Supervisors Chair Chip Davis said. "Every time we change an idea, it changes the whole mix of things."

Supervisor Lorna Street agreed.

"We've kind of been in a crisis Band-Aid-type mode," she said.

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