SHAWNEE — Officials running a juvenile detention center in Shawnee say it might close because of state budget cuts. The Pottawatomie County jail system for adults and minors is overseen by the five-member Pottawatomie County Public Safety Trust.
The trust has had difficulty paying its operating costs for the county jail and has found it increasingly difficult to subsidize the county’s 14-bed juvenile detention center known as Carter Hall. Trust Chairman Rod Huffman said this fiscal year the state Office of Juvenile Affairs has cut its payments for housing juvenile offenders by 10 percent. That’s put Carter Hall in the hole about $3,500 a month and it already owes the county’s struggling jail operation $50,000, he said. Trust members earlier this month discussed closing the juvenile detention center, but tabled their decision and instead instituted a 5 percent pay cut for employees. Juvenile detention centers can expect even less money from the state this coming fiscal year, Office of Juvenile Affairs Director Gene Christian said. It appears the agency’s $104 million budget will be taking a $5 million cut. And it’s likely that juvenile centers contracting with the state also will take nearly a 5 percent cut, he said.