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50 attend meeting to ponder solution to juvenile detention crisis

50 attend meeting to ponder solution to juvenile detention crisis
Scotts Bluff County Court Judge James Worden (Mooney/RRN/KNEB)

Approximately 50 people met for two hours today to discuss the crisis panhandle counties face following the closure last year of Scotts Bluff County’s Juvenile Detention Center.

District 12 probation officer Darren Duncan, who organized the meeting, said 34 juveniles have been transferred 400 miles and more to eastern Nebraska jails in the last 14 months for detention.

Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman said it has been a nightmare making the transfers, resulting in $670 costs one way for travel plus extra money for manpower. County Judge James Worden says it has made it difficult for him to sentence juveniles who need detention, and Gering High School Principal Eldon Hubbard says it has put troubled students behind on their education, encouraging dropping out.

Scotts Bluff County Commissioner Ken Meyer says he is ready to be part of a regional task force to find a solution, emphasizing it is not just a Scotts Bluff County problem

Several of the participants talked about the need for the panhandle commissioners to come together and fund a new juvenile detention facility. Judge Worden said eight to ten beds are needed.

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