WRIC 8: Kerri O’Brien: Incarcerating kids: New report urges state to think smaller

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As Virginia reconsiders how it incarcerates kids, a new report reveals startling new data about the cost and effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s Juvenile Correctional Facilities. It’s a controversial topic 8News has been investigating for months.

$42 million dollars is the budgeted cost for a new juvenile correctional facility in the state. A new report from the Rise for Youth Campaign Coalition, a group advocating that youth prisons don’t work, found that hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent just for the secure wire fencing around the youth prisons.

The report also reveals housing just one child behind costs the taxpayer anywhere between $142,000-$206,000 per year, and the current systems appears to be doing little to rehabilitate.

“All agree what they currently have is not working,” Jeree Thomas, an Attorney with the JustChildren Program at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Richmond, told 8News Investigative Reporter Kerri O’Brien.

D65B424C51134D5DB2B17B25D045082CThe state is planning to close the large Beaumont Correctional Facility in Powhatan.

“These are two gigantic concrete maximum security prisons that house these young kids, and I tell you, you walk in and I don’t care who you are, you cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the injustice,” Governor Terry McAuliffe said last month.

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