For the week of August 26 thru September 1, 1998  

County commissioners hear new juvenile crime stats

A state juvenile corrections facility may need to be built in south-central Idaho, the Blaine County Commissioners were told Monday.

State Department of Juvenile Corrections liaison Mike Kistler, based in Twin Falls and a tie between his department and south-central Idaho counties, reported that 474 juveniles were in full-time treatment programs located both in and out of the state. He said the department has used facilities in Texas, Washington, Utah and Oregon.

Kistler said the out-of-state facilities are costly and sometimes less beneficial to patients because of the difficulty in involving family members.

A south-central Idaho facility for treatment of juveniles might be the answer, Kistler said.

He said the idea is still in it’s "infancy stage" but could be a recommendation of a national consulting firm, Chinn Planning Inc., which is analyzing the area’s needs.

"The whole goal is to get all the kids back in Idaho," Kistler said.

Kistler reported that 1997 saw a 7 percent decrease in overall juvenile arrests in Idaho, the first in 12 years. The number of juvenile court petitions filed decreased 2.5 percent between 1996 and 1997, he added.

Kistler’s information came from an executive summary from department director Brent Reinke titled "Designing Juvenile Corrections For the New Century."

However, Kistler emphasized that the decreases do not mean there is less of a need for state care of juveniles.

The Blaine County Commissioners asked Kistler to send them the final Chinn Planning report on the local juvenile corrections situation so they could further consider the issue.


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