LITTLE FALLS - The Morrison County Board would like to see a youth detention center built in Brainerd and it made its view known Thursday.
The county board met at the Morrison County Government Center here with Carol Roberts, a consultant of The Carey Group, a Minnesota-based national corrections consulting firm, that was hired by Crow Wing County to conduct a study on the feasibility and desirability of opening a juvenile detention center in Brainerd. Roberts sought feedback from Morrison County on any concerns or needs it has with the opening of a detention center.
Morrison County agreed earlier this week to pay $3,782 for its part of the feasibility study that will look at the public safety goals in opening a facility, at the juvenile population being served, at Department of Corrections rules and regulations and determine whether a private or public organization is best suited to run the facility.
Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said the county needs some type of short-term lock-up center. He said after the Central Minnesota Juvenile Center in Brainerd closed in May county deputies have had to transport youths to detention centers in Park Rapids or Lino Lakes. Wetzel said often times deputies make three or four round trips and this takes up a lot of their staff time and costs money.
Roberts said short-term lock-ups are the No. 1 concern that will be addressed in the feasibility study.
Morrison County Commissioner Don Meyer, who also sits on the joint powers board that governs the Central Minnesota Community Corrections along with commissioners from Aitkin and Crow Wing counties, said he'd like to see the treatment programs at the detention center be re-evaluated
Roberts said the study provides a great opportunity to re-evaluate these treatment programs.
Connie Waytashek, Morrison County Board deputy clerk, asked questions for County Administrator Tim Houle, who was unable to attend the meeting. Waytashek asked if The Carey Group was only focusing on a detention center or if it also was looking at proposals for a non-secure detention center.
Roberts said a detention center would need a mixture of secure areas, as well as non-secure. Roberts said this would be evaluated for the study.
Roberts said at this time Crow Wing and Morrison counties are the only counties involved with the study. The study is expected to cost up to $20,800 and be completed within the next two months.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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