Macomb County, Michigan's $19 million Juvenile Justice Center made a public debut yesterday to rave reviews. Officials say it is more than just the latest in high-tech detention facilities for troubled youths, the Detroit News reports. “This is a state-of-the-art facility that we are extremely proud of, but it also signifies the beginning of reform of the old system,” said Macomb County Commissioner Phil DiMaria. Among the deficiencies being corrected is the lack of training for many of the 83 workers.
A focus of the reform movement is to educate and rehabilitate youthful offenders to cut down on recidivism and make them productive members of society, DiMaria said. Today, 70 young inmates will move from the old, crowded, cramped, 50-year-old center into the gleaming facility 100 feet away. Each cell will have its own bathroom. Most inmates in the ward sections of the old facility shared a bathroom with 13 other inmates. Some 91 video cameras will probe into every “nook and cranny” of the 81,000-square-foot, two-story facility. The camera system will protect youths from abuse and protect staff from false allegations. The current center has been subject to complaints of physical abuse of young detainees by the staff.