New gym, cells upgrade capabilities

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2011

From left, Maevirtis McGhee, Kimberly Davis and Linda Williams pose in one of the new cells that have been added to the center. -- Rick Couch

Thanks to a few new additions, the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center is receiving high marks from the state.

The center, director Marcus Hannah said, was always held in high regard. The addition of a new gym, he said, put them in perfect standing. The center has 411 policies it has to meet, and the only area it was lacking was recreation.

“The gym is built for physical activities for all of the juveniles,” he said. “That’s the only thing we weren’t in compliance with. It also allows the kids to get in shape or stay in shape, and it is a good stress reliever.”

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The gym provides treadmills, exercise bikes and a basketball court.

Allowing the juveniles to exercise, Hannah said, boosts their mental and physical health.

The gym is especially important because of the large area the center serves, Hannah said.

They currently contract with Wilcox, Pickens, Greene and Marengo counties and could add Sumter in the future.

The increased population meant the center also needed four beds. Along with the gym,

The center’s increased capabilities and recognition, Hannah said, are a testament to the staff.

“We owe all that to our team members, because we have excellent staff here,” he said. “That’s from our part-time workers all the way up to our administration team.”

Local government, he said, has also been an integral part of the center’s success.

“The Dallas County Commission has been excellent in supporting us and making sure we have everything we need,” he said. “Probate Judge Kim Ballard has also been instrumental in making sure funding is there. We also have a great working relationship with Judge (Bob) Armstrong and his probation staff.”

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