The Main Stream

Jan 5, 2010 2:02 AM

Juvenile Corrections implements $5.36 million in budget cuts

The state's budget cuts have begun for the Department of Juvenile Corrections and many worry the side effects aren't far behind.

The department has to cut $5.36 million dollars. It will force at least one facility to close. Two others including the Catalina Mountain School here in Tucson, will close one of its housing units and cut its staff.

Since 2008, the department's capacity has been almost cut in half. At the Catalina Mountain School they've gone from five housing units down to two.

Staff wise, the department said the newest cuts won't affect the Catalina Mountain School all that much but even a few people make a difference.

Laura Dillingham, the Director of Communications for the Department of Juvenile Corrections said, "It absolutely becomes more difficult because you're doing more with less each time."

Dillingham said, the kids will feel it too, especially if they have to be moved elsewhere. She said, "Anytime you move them away it makes it harder for the families to have access to them."

The cuts in the juvenile system won't just affect things on the inside. Workers said it will also hurt things on the outside.

Dillingham said, "Kids come here to get treatment, to get education and services. And if those services aren't available in the community as the kids transition out, then the kids won't get the services and support they need."

And if that's the case, the department said the kids will likely turn back to a life of crime and that's what has law enforcement's attention.

Jim Mann the Executive Director of the Fraternal Order of Police said, "We're dealing with juvenile crime all over the state. One of the resources they have while we're waiting to further prosecute is that juvenile corrections."

The fear of the negative affects these cuts will has both the department and the Fraternal Order of Police asking the Governor to reconsider.

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