County detention center stays busy

Published 8:28 pm Monday, September 8, 2008

Open for slightly more than a month, the county detention center’s turnstiles are already accommodating heavy traffic.

A recent report from Director Marcus Hannah counted about 25 juveniles in and out of the facility since its official opening in early August.

Designed to accommodate 12 males and eight females, the walls inside the structure adjacent to the county jail have seen their share of both.

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It currently has five males and four females and is one of the few co-ed facilities in the state.

“We’re one of two centers in the whole state that accepts females, so I knew it would be in high demand,” Probate Judge Kim Ballard said.

The center is currently attempting to become part of the Alabama State Department of Education’s Child Nutrition Program, which will provide reimbursements for the meals served to the detainees.

A tour of the facility by members of the state board is pending a letter to the CNP director, Perry Fulton.

Less than a week after the $2 million facility’s opening on Aug. 5, three juveniles had been transported in.

Not long after that, Hannah and District Judge Bob Armstrong — who recommends youths to the detention center — approached the Dallas County Commission and Selma City Council regarding funds for a proposed holding cell. They estimated that between $8,000 and $10,000 was needed to upgrade trailer in the center’s possession to meet Department of Youth standards.

The county also sought to go into contract with nearby counties, including Wilcox, Butler and Lowndes, to transport juveniles into the local facility.