Cleveland Spends 20 Years Debating Youth Center


Leaders in Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County have devoted years of labor and piles of money to building a new juvenile detention center, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. In the last four years alone, the county has shelled out nearly $7 million for architects, studies, construction managers, and personnel. It spent $10 million more this year cleaning a property on Cleveland’s East Side to get ready for the new building. All that time and cash have produced nothing. County leaders are still quibbling over where to put the facility.

The drawn-out process of building a new juvenile detention center goes back at least 20 years. Various leaders have railed about the need to replace the cramped, antiquated facility, as well as the deteriorating juvenile courthouse. The plans remain mired in political turf wars. “Regrettably, and for years, the county has lurched from one plan to another, wasting literally millions of dollars,” Juvenile Judge Peter Sikora acknowledged in a recent letter to his fellow judges and the county commissioners. While the project languishes, conditions at the 40-year-old detention center and the 73-year-old court building continue to deteriorate. That costs the county more money — $15 million just in the last few years — for repairs and upkeep. The center remains dangerously crowded. On a recent day, 147 juveniles were housed in a building meant for 86.


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