Scott County Juvenile Detention Center in works for newer, larger facility

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Set in motion by a federal mandate that will no longer allow youthful offenders to house with adults by the end of this year, the multi-million dollar project would triple the size of the Scott County Juvenile Detention Center from its current 18 bed maximum to 40 beds.

While the population of incarcerated juveniles ebbs and flows, police say that the number of beds would be to provide safety by separating them based on their classification.

“We make sure that residents aren’t being victimized while they’re in the facility,” said Jeremy Kaiser, the Director of Scott County Juvenile Detention Center, “so the 40 beds allows us to separate maybe a first time offender from someone who has been in several times.”

Juveniles currently housed with adults at the Scott County Jail are in for Forcible Felonies, or violent offenses such as assault, sex offenses, murder, and first-degree burglary.

Once the new mandate--known as the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act--takes effect, those teens will be housed with others who have less serious offenses.

With the 18 beds that the current facility has now, officials say there will not be enough space, nor separation, to keep all the inmates safe. For example, as of July 27, 2021 there are 11 inmates in the Juvenile Detention Center, and 9 in the Adult Jail, making 20 inmates in total, two more beds than available at the facility.

“The last thing that we want to see, is that a juvenile goes into a detention facility and becomes a victim themselves,” said Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane, “and gets assaulted because the facility isn’t built in order to keep juveniles away from other juveniles.”

Data provided by Kaiser shows that 22 offenders on average have been housed daily at the Scott County Juvenile Detention Center for the past five years.

Officials say that multiple studies have been conducted to determine that 40 beds will allow for the proper separation to keep juveniles safe and on track with their programs.

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