Will McDonnell’s decision overcrowd VA juvenile detention centers?

Posted at 7:27 PM, Dec 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-18 22:07:08-05

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) -- As part of the proposed Budget Amendments outlined by Governor Bob McDonnell in his so-called "Money Speech" to Virginia lawmakers, the Governor proposed the closing of a Chesterfield Juvenile Correction Center as well as one in Hanover County.

The Governor said the move will save the state over $7 million dollars.

But will the shifting of residents from Hanover and Chesterfield to other facilities cause overcrowding?

According to the Department of Juvenile Justice, there are 688 total juveniles in detention centers or halfway houses in the state.

82 are in Hanover.

38 are at the Oak Ridge detention center in Chesterfield.

According to Greg Davy of the DJJ, Hanover juveniles will be sent to the state's three remaining juvenile centers in Beaumont, Culpeper, and Bon Air.

Oak Ridge juveniles will go to Beaumont.

"They are going to facilities that have the room," Greg Davy told CBS 6 in an interview.

According to Davy, there has been a 38 percent reduction in the number of juveniles in Virginia Correction Centers since 2008.

Because of the drop, the facilities have the ability to absorb the new adolescents.

But not everyone is cheering the decision.

"I am very concerned," Richard Grosse, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, told CBS 6.

"When you pile people who have the same challenges in the same place you get the reinforcement of the behavior instead of the rehabilitation we would hope," Grosse said.

Apart from the issue of overcrowding, there is concern about staff positions.

In his speech to lawmakers, McDonnell said "layoffs would be minimal."

Davy said Tuesday he expects nearly all of the staff to be shifted to other facilities if they desire.

"Unfortunately - due to budget constraints - this is what we have to do," Davy said.