Newport facility to become Kentucky's first and only all-girl juvenile detention center
The Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Newport will become the state's first and only detention facility exclusively for girls, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday.
The center currently houses both boys and girls but will make the transition to an all-girl facility this month.
Beshear says safety concerns are the main reason for the move.
Last month, an altercation at a youth detention center in Adair County sent several juveniles and staff members to the hospital with injuries.
"What we are seeing is violence within these facilities," Beshear said. "What it does is it creates major disruptions in the system to where we can't provide services to someone else who is not causing that disruption."
The Newport facility will house every girl in Kentucky's juvenile justice system, meaning girls from elsewhere in the state will need to be moved to Campbell County and further away from their homes.
Beshear acknowledged the move will cause transportation issues for families from other parts of the state who want to visit their children in custody, but he says the change is necessary to protect young girls from violent attacks and assault.
"We hope that both with law enforcement that may have a longer drive, or parents, or guardians, or folks trying to provide services will understand that this is a significant additional level of protection to try to insure we don't see any of these individuals harmed," the governor said.
Beshear says the state is working on addressing the issue by creating a "transportation group" within the juvenile justice system to transport girls to court appearances and help families that wish to travel to Northern Kentucky to see their children.
The Newport location has 35 beds available. That state is recruiting 15 people to work within the all-girl detention center, but Beshear says incidents of violence have made finding new staff members difficult.
An announcement about safety improvement at youth detention facilities will be made next week, according to the governor.