Barbra Culver Juvenile Justice Center faces uncertain future

MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - A lot of uncertainty. A lot of concerns. The Barbra Culver Juvenile Justice Center is facing its fair share.

Chief Probation Officer Forrest Hanna says there's been whispers of closing it, but after one person from the juvenile board voted the detention center not suitable for juveniles, those whispers have turned into full-blown screams.

"For several years across the state and across the United States juvenile crime was going down here in Midland that trend has reversed," said Forest Hanna, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, Culver Youth Center.

The trends, Hanna said, 291 kids were seen at the center last year. Assaults and drug offenses are up 60 percent. There have already been 23 theft of firearms when all last year was only 28.

"Without the ability to detain those kids here, they're more likely to not charge them with any offense," said Hanna.

No detention center could mean transporting kids others outside Lubbock or San Angelo. Those concerns are on the minds of judges too.

"In the last two weeks we've had two incidents at our high schools with guns. Those are serious felony offenses. If no Culver, where do we take them. No room, where do we take them," said Judge David Cobos, Midland County, Precinct 2.

When a kid comes to the center after making a poor choice Hanna and others try to look deeper than the why?

"We do mental health screenings. We do a risk and needs assessment. We also asses their home, supervision with parents," said Hanna.

Because finding the answer helps make sure the same mistake isn't repeated.

"Some kids have already made that decision to go down that road but a lot of kids are on the fence," said Hanna.

More answers and a clearer picture. Hanna and others hope that's what's in the future.

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