ABILENE, Texas - Kids are back in school, which means some have the opportunity to cut loose and commit a crime. That's according to officials with the Taylor County Juvenile Detention Center, who say the amount of juvenile offenders tends to increase in the beginning and the end of each school year.
Allison Stafford, chief juvenile probation officer, said it’s because children are able to interact more with one another. Young adults will get into fights, sell drugs or skip school, but many factors can come into play and lead kids to TCJDC, Stafford said.
Stafford said some of the children they encounter have a bad upbringing or not enough supervision at home.
The number of juveniles admitted to the pre-adjudication facility fluctuates throughout the rest of the year, just as the adult crime rate does. The facility houses a maximum of 22 co-ed offenders, with ages ranging from ten to 17.
Stafford said they are prepared to attend to the juveniles this school year because of an increase in staffing. Federal guidelines require a certain student to staff-to-inmate ratio but in the past, the department has struggled with high employee turnover rate.
In July, The Taylor County Commissioners approved a salary increase for Juvenile Supervision Officers. Before, a JSO would be paid roughly $24,000, now they can be paid $33,000. The department has since hired six probation officers and three other staff members.
"The resources they need to help them stay out of the juvenile field and go into the adult field we work very hard to see that there needs are met,” Stafford said.
The Taylor Juvenile Detention Center is currently housing 13 kids from Taylor, Jones, and Nolan counties and Brownwood.
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