Scott County leaders disagree over capacity of new Juvenile Detention Center

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 4:10 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Development of a new, larger $16.8 million Scott County Juvenile Detention Center is underway, but some county leaders disagree over what capacity the facility should be.

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.

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.

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

Both JDC Director Jeremy Kaiser and Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane support the increased size of 40 because they say it will allow for separation by 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.”

Four of the five Scott County Board of Supervisors, including John Maxwell, also support a 40 person facility.

“There is an argument that it costs to more money to build a facility. I don’t disagree with that. But for my money in Scott County and safety of Scott County, being able to rehab these people and get them back into the community, for my money that money is well spent,” Supervisor Maxwell said, “Juveniles in Scott County should stay in Scott County. Be assessed in Scott County. To go back out into the communities in Scott County. And be surrounded by their family and loved ones to be able to get them back going in the right direction. "

Ken Croken is the sole supervisor who supports a small facility of 28. He believes the money should instead be used to increase funding for youth support services.

“Every dollar we invest in detention, that’s one dollar less we have to obviate the need for detention. To invest in community based support programs. Services that would allow us to have fewer kids in jail rather than building bigger jails,” Supervisor Croken said.

Croken is holding community conversation forums to allow the public to give input.

The board is expected to vote on final design later this year.

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