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Sedgwick County commissioners have heard a proposal for a day reporting program for juvenile offenders. The program would be created if the county decides to close the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch as recommended in the 2013 county budget.
The idea was presented during an informal county staff meeting Tuesday by Larry Ternes with the Sedgwick County Corrections Department. He said the program would offer structured community-based services that would allow juveniles to remain in their home communities and remain in school, as an alternative to detention.
Ternes said there are not as many juveniles in the system today as there were in the early 1990s, when the violent crime rate was higher. He expects the program would serve 30 youngsters between the ages of 13 and 17.
He said the youngsters would have to be separated by age and gender, and that could be done by having them report on different days, or finding a facility that can have separate areas for them.
Ternes said the center would operate Tuesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each youngster would be on a program averaging 120 days.
He said the cost of the program for 2013 is estimated at $750,000, including start-up costs. That is roughly half the cost of the Boys Ranch.
Commissioner Richard Ranzau raised a concern about the cost of the program. He wants to look at options for keeping the Boys Ranch open. He pointed out that some legislators have been talking about ways to increase state funding for the Boys Ranch.
Commissioners will have more discussions on the day reporting proposal and the Boys Ranch as they continue to work on a final county budget for next year.
(in photo at left, Larry Ternes talks to commissioners about the youth reporting proposal)