Department of Juvenile Justice opening new facility in Wilkes

Department of Juvenile Justice opening new facility in Wilkes

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The Department of Juvenile Justice held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a brand new detention center in Wilkes County.

This state of the art facility aims to give kids a greater shot at a second chance. In about a month the 20 million dollar Wilkes Regional Youth Detention Center will open it's doors. This will replace the youth detention center in Sandersville.

"Sandersville is very outdated facility wise and this brings a level of services where we can continue the level of rehabilitation services that kids deserve and rightfully need," said Avery Niles, the Commissioner of Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

The focus of rehabilitation in the new building is centered around education, with a majority of the large spaces set aside for educational areas.

"Sometimes we find that kids haven't been going to school on a regular basis when they come to us but here It's mandatory," said the Associate superintendent of Schools.

Juveniles who are placed at the Wilkes Detention center can receive their diploma or GED's In addition to vocational training courses.The Toombs Juvenile court judge says having this option is his backyard will take the strain off of local deputies.

" A lot of the local resource time with law enforcement and the courts time is kind of occupied by having to go  greater distances to get children to bring them to court. Having that facility here makes it more economically beneficial and efficient to have the children closer to the courts," said Jaye Jones, the Toombs Juvenile Court Judge.

Not only are the kids closer to the courts, they'll be closer to something else that officials say is key to their rehabilitation.

"We really get to work kids and their families because we keep kids close to home. There's a lot of research that shows that when kids can remain connected to their families the long term outcome is a lot better" said the Deputy Commissioner.

Officials agree that this will signal the beginning for Juvenile justice reform in Wilkes county.

The Detention Center will house 48 juveniles when operations begin.

Copyright 2017 WFXG. All rights reserved.