Juvenile Detention Centers Closing, Merging to Save Money - WBAY

Juvenile Detention Centers Closing, Merging to Save Money

Brown County -

As part of a new way for many counties to save money, juvenile detention centers that house teens and kids in trouble with the law are closing their doors this year.

Action Two News has learned many of those juveniles from across Northeast Wisconsin are now ending up in Brown County.

In a day and age of pinching pennies where ever possible, counties are finding a place to save money in an unlikely place -- juvenile detention centers.

"I believe it will be the wave of the future, just because it's so expensive to run detention centers. And it's just much easier for them to house their juveniles with us and pay the cost of transporting, rather than operating their own facility," says Corporal Brian Laurent, Superintendent of the Brown County Juvenile Detention Center.

In the last 10 months, juvenile detention centers in Manitowoc and Oconto Counties have closed, deemed to be costing money.

They were already housing troubled youth from several other counties, so now 10 to 17 year olds awaiting court hearings or placement in long-term facilities from Shawano, Door, Forest, Marinette and Oconto Counties are all being transferred to Brown County.

Contracts with other larger counties are also in the works.

"We run more efficient at that higher number, because we do already have the staff in place," says Laurent.

Those smaller counties tell us it just doesn't make sense to pay at least two guards, medical and maintenance costs for their own facilities when they average one or two juveniles a day.

So for 110 dollars a day, they're sending them to what's becoming a regional center in Green Bay.

 In return, Brown County will take in about $200,000 in revenue by the end of 2014.

"I feel like it's working very good. It helps the sheriff's budget. It saves money for the taxpayers, and it also helps out our neighboring counties a little bit with their budgets," says Laurent.

As for what happens to those closed juvenile centers, it's up to each county.

Manitowoc, for instance, tells us it's now using its facility for storage and training.

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