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Juvenile Detention Center To Close

COLUMBUS (Tom Bosco/Kate Liebers) -- A Delaware County youth detention center is to shut down next year with no clear plans for the property's future.

The Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility is scheduled to close May 2014, the Ohio Department of Youth Services announced Thursday.

Thursday's announcement apparently came as a surprise to union workers. 

"We have been suspecting and hearing rumors that this might happen and have continued to ask management if this was a realistic possibility, and have been continually told no, as recently as two weeks ago," Josh Norris wrote on behalf of SEIU District 1199.

The center has 247 permanent employees, including guards and social workers, who watch over 38 inmates.

State officials have said the employees will be offered other positions in the department, while the youth offenders will be sent to other facilities.

SJCF has had history of problems.

A 2012 inspection revealed that 83 percent of staff said the facility was unsafe because of assaults. The report also showed that the number of youth-on-staff assaults more than doubled in the past year.

Additionally, three gangs among youth were identified.

But the state said the building is closing because alternative programs for inmates have been successful.

"If there are fewer youths who are in the facility and need the facility, I think that's a great thing," Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien said. "And if we're adequately protecting the public from the youths who have had to go to the facility, I'm all for that."


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