Juvenile detention center tax fails

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Board of Commissioners for the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center will have a special meeting Wednesday at 5 p.m. The meeting will be held at the center in Robert.

“This is an extremely important meeting concerning the future of the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center,” chairman David Merlin Duke said. “With the defeat of the operating tax renewal in November, we have to take a serious look at what our next step will be.”

Duke said one of the options is to declare an emergency for the facility, which will allow the tax renewal to be placed on the ballot in April of 2016.

“This is just one of our options but it is an option the board will have to seriously consider,” Duke said.

The Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center serves juveniles in Washington, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. Helena parishes. Without the facility, these parishes would have to transport juvenile offenders to locations outside of the parishes.

Duke also said he has invited all of the sheriffs, district court judges and the two district attorneys to attend the meeting.

The center officially opened with 31 beds on Jan. 3, 1994 and accepted the first juvenile on Jan. 18, 1994. Since then, the facility has grown and has become a model for juvenile detention facilities across the nation.