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Douglas County Board passes resolutions related to new juvenile detention facility

Posted at 6:34 PM, May 23, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Contracts related to a new youth center in Douglas County were up for discussion by the board of commissioners on Tuesday. That included resolutions to end two agreements for detention services, setting the daily rate for services and addressing capacity.

Several people shared concerns about the new youth detention center because it has a smaller capacity than the current one.

"It's unfortunate that some young people have to be detained,” said Douglas County Sheriff Aaron Hanson. “It's unfortunate that we don't have appropriate, secure alternatives to detention infrastructure in this community. Do we need those? Yes. I urge you to oppose items one, two and four, our community and your people in need deserve better."

A Creighton law professor who spoke disagreed with Hanson's position. She argued that fewer beds will mean more kids are put into rehabilitative programs, instead of the detention center.

“Children who are placed on probation have the right to have services that will help to rehabilitate them,” said Joy Suder, director of the juvenile justice clinic at Creighton University School of Law. “The Douglas County Youth Center, and any detention center by statutory definition, is not a placement for purposes of rehabilitation. The purpose of detention is to be short-term.”

All four resolutions passed, but only the one setting the daily rate for services was unanimous.

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