Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Delay proposed on opening juvenile detention center

January 13, 2004

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— A $34 million juvenile prison nearing completion could sit empty for longer than expected.

The 225-bed, maximum security prison at the Topeka Juvenile Correctional Facility had been scheduled to open in July. Construction is expected to be finished in April.

But Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday proposed delaying the opening for one year to save the state $11.8 million in operating costs in fiscal 2005.

The center will have space for 150 maximum-security inmates, a 60-bed diagnosis-and-classification unit and infirmary space for up to 15 youths.

In 2000, several Senate Ways and Means Committee members said they were unhappy with the proposed center but agreed to support funding for it because of projections that sentencing guidelines would keep juveniles in custody longer.

However, State Budget Director Duane Goossen said Monday there was no pressing need for the new space.

Goossen and his staff estimate that 260 employees will be required to operate the center when it opens.

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