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Oklahoma juvenile agency seeks site for school

BY VALLERY BROWN Modified: December 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm •  Published: March 15, 2010

Th
e academy provides educational programs to youths 11 to 20 years old who are referred to the school through juvenile courts and child welfare services.

Ski Broman, chief executive for Rite of Passage, said the program focuses on developing strengths and goals to help youths transition back into life out of detention.

"Typical facilities focus on custody and control. It’s all about risk reduction,” Broman said.

Rite of Passage programs are evidence-based ways of assessing juveniles’ strengths and risks and prescribing treatments and goals.

Juveniles, even the most violent offenders, are able to learn skills for life outside of the center, Broman said.

Other plans
Still in the works is a group home in a former Butler school in Custer County, northwest of Clinton. The school was donated to Southwestern Oklahoma State University and will be used as a reintegration home for about 16 juveniles.

That project is nearly complete, but it’s not clear how it will be opened and operated with current budget conditions, Christian said.

Plans are also still under way for a new high-security institution. Design, function and legal problems at the L.E. Rader Center have made the cost of operating it nearly 25 percent higher per youth than the two other secure centers in the state. The Central Oklahoma Juvenile Detention Center in Tecumseh and the Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Detention Center in Manitou are considered medium security institutions and are able to house serious and violent offenders.

A new high-security center could cost as much as $30 million to build. City officials in Clinton have expressed interest in the project.


Juveniles referred to the Office of Juvenile Affairs:


2009


• Total in detention or programs: 14,191


• First-time referrals: 8,629


• Detained for violent crimes: 1,477


• Gang members: 556


2008


• Total in detention or programs: 14,757


• First-time referrals: 9,076


• Detained for violent crimes: 1,561


• Gang members: 570

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