Findings turn up in Perry Varner audit

Published 9:46 pm Monday, February 24, 2014

Alabama’s Department of Youth Services cited Camp Perry Varner Education and Treatment Facility twice for personnel issues in its yearly audit of the facility.

Both findings related to the treatment of the youth in facility. Perry Varner director Marcus Hannah classified the findings as minor during Monday’s Dallas County Commission meeting. The audit gave Perry Varner a 100 percent on mandatory items and 98 percent on non-mandatory items.

“It wasn’t anything we were surprised by; we knew it was coming,” Hannah said. “When something happens, you have to send it to DYS and regardless of whatever you do to fix that scenario you still will be found for that scenario.”

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He said incidents are considered more serious when unreported to the Department of Youth Services. In this case, Hannah said the incidents were reported soon after occurring. Because it was a personnel issue,

Hannah declined to discuss exact details of the incidents, but said they related to staff behavior during the Perry Varner’s transition from a boot camp to a total treatment facility.

“The way you can discipline a kid has totally changed; we even changed the name of the facility to reflect what we really do out there,” Probate Judge Kim Ballard said during the meeting. “Some of the older personnel had not totally converted to that method of discipline.”

Inside Perry Varner are 32 beds for juveniles from a 9-county area. Juvenile males are sentenced to Perry Varner after being deemed low-risk. Perry Varner sets a goal of eight weeks for completion; teaching self-esteem, anger management, general behavioral management and drug treatment.

In other news from the meeting:

-The commission unanimously approved a petition to install multiple speed bumps on Marshall Avenue in Selmont, near Tipton Middle School.

Commissioner Connel Towns said several residents of the community requested the speed bump because of excessive speeding in the area.

“We just want to slow traffic down and make it safe for the area and the school,” Towns said. “I think it will be effective because if you want to take care of your car, you’ll make sure to slow down when you cross those speed bumps.”

-The commission also unanimously approved a travel request for attorney John Kelly to attend a City and County Government Seminar in Orange Beach April 25 and 26. Expenses will include registration, room and board and mileage not to exceed 850.

“John always picks up a lot of valuable information when he goes to these seminars, so it’s really money well spent,” Ballard said during the meeting.