Detention center as a second chance

Published 11:22 pm Tuesday, August 5, 2008

State Sen. Hank Sanders told a poignant story at the opening of the juvenile detention center Tuesday.

He talked about his wayward teenage years, a bad temper and how one day he engaged in a heated argument with his mother and took an ax after her.

Sanders is living proof that youth are salvageable. He realizes this as well.

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That’s one of the reasons Sanders has gone to bat for Dallas County to have its own juvenile detention center. He has used his influence in the Alabama Legislature to ensure the wherewithal for Dallas County.

And Sanders played a mighty role.

But so did others: Probate Judge Kim Ballard set the tone on the Dallas County Board of Commissioners, who worked together to see this 20-bed facility constructed and staffed without pushing the county into debt.

Indeed, the county has begun saving money in fuel and housing costs for taking and housing young people in other areas.

While this building is a detention center for youth in trouble, it also may be a second chance for many. It’s an opportunity for children to catch themselves, receive some sort of intervention and adult guidance and return to school where, maybe, they will have learned their lessons.

That certainly was Tuesday’s message at the grand opening.