YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — The York County Commissioners are exploring the option of opening a juvenile detention center at the county’s prison. There is currently no juvenile detention center in York County.
York County Commissioner Doug Hoke, who also acts as the president of the York County Prison Board, says there are 30 to 40 juveniles put in detention every year. There are currently four juveniles in detention, but none are staying in York County.
“There was a small detention center at the youth development center, and I think in 2010 we decided to close the detention side and use it completely as a shelter for juveniles here in York County,” Hoke said.
Get the latest Pennsylvania politics and election news with abc27 newsletters!
Juveniles placed in detention centers are sent to other counties, but now there is available space, which was previously used to hold ICE detainees, at the York County Prison.
“Our prison population, from a county standpoint, county prison population, over the past ten years has been slowly declining, and that’s a good thing,” Hoke added. “So we have space out there and we’re looking for a lot of options on how to use it.”
The two available spaces are in the back of the prison, separate from adult inmates, and could hold 12 beds.
“We would have to do some minor renovations at the prison,” said Hoke. “Classroom space, there’s a basketball court, there’s an outside recreational area we have the medical facility there, prime care that could come help out, we have a food facility.”
Hoke says opening the space within York County would be better for kids and teens in detention centers.
Get severe weather alerts with newsletters and push alerts from the abc27 Weather Team!
“Being close to home, have family, relatives, support. Being able to have people come visit you is very important,” Hoke said.
The York County Commissioners passed a motion to spend up to $10,000 to do a feasibility study.
“I think that we’re not only doing something for the people in York County, but also for the state, because if we have extra beds, we could help other counties in central Pennsylvania,” Hoke concluded.
The new juvenile center would be for kids 17 and younger. Hoke hopes the feasibility study will be finished soon.