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HOT SPRINGS -- Garland County will pay close to $1 million in 2019 to operate its juvenile detention center, but the average population so far this year has been below a dozen youths, according to budget information and other materials The Sentinel-Record received through an Arkansas Freedom of Information Act request.

Population reports show an average of 11 youths have been held at the juvenile lockup at 222 Woodbine St. since January. During the summer, the count has been as low as four. It reached a high of 22 on May 5, the records show.

Counties are not required under state law to operate juvenile lockups, the Association of Arkansas Counties said.

The Garland County Quorum Court approved a $912,041 budget for the 22-bed facility and its 15 budgeted positions.

Money for the lockup comes from the county general fund, but the facility also receives revenue through its contract with the state to hold youths the courts place in state Division of Youth Services custody.

The state Department of Human Services, which oversees the Youth Services Division, said the contract primarily covers youths sent to county facilities when space is unavailable at one of the state's five residential treatment and juvenile justice centers.

Youths who don't assimilate well at state facilities are also sent to county lockups for short "timeouts," said Marci Manley, the Human Services deputy chief of communications.

The state pays Garland County $75 a day per youth and the Youth Services Division is authorized to pay up to $27,375 through June 30, 2020, according to the contract and the Human Services Department. Human Services officials said the state also contracts with Yell, Arkansas, Independence and Jefferson counties to hold Youth Services Division placements.

The youthful-offender lockup also receives reimbursements for breakfast and lunch expenses through the National School Lunch Program.

Metro on 08/12/2019

Print Headline: Few beds used at county's youth lockup

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