Roscommon County Juvenile Detention Center to Close Oct. 2

The Roscommon County Board of Commissioners recently voted to close the county’s Juvenile Detention Center on Oct. 2.

RoscommonThe Board Chairman, Robert Schneider, said there were a number of factors that went into the decision, including staffing and funding for the center.

“We started looking at the financial feasibility, possibly what was going to happen with it,” said Schneider. “We started to run a deficit at that particular time, but it wasn’t real bad, but it’s just grown after COVID.”

It was an issue Schneider said county officials have been talking about for a little over a year.

“We actually brought in the two co-directors, the friend of the court referee, our controller, and the commissioners prior to making the decision to fully vet this process,” Schneider said.

One of the biggest issues was staffing.

“We’re short on staff, can’t hire people, they don’t want to do this kind of work, it’s a lot of responsibility with it,” Schneider said. “Scheduling you can’t work people 80 hours a week, and that’s what it comes down to. We just couldn’t sustain it.”

Another issue was finances.

“We started looking at the financial feasibility, possibly what was going to happen with it. We started to run a deficit at that particular time but it wasn’t real bad, but it’s just grown after Covid,” he said. “It was a drain on the general fund, and it just got to the point where we couldn’t sustain it.”

Across the state in 2020, there were 24 county run juvenile detention facilities.

In 2021, there were 16.

Schneider says he’s been told Roscommon County’s was one of a few centers left.

“We used to be able to house eight to 10 youth and because of state regulations, they were reduced to five, and then lately we’ve been lucky to have two to three in the facility,” he said.

It’s up to the counties the juveniles were prosecuted in to determine where they go next.

“There’s a lot more regulations out there, good bad or otherwise, and with COVID, everything just came to a head all at once,” Schneider said.