Grayson County Juvenile Board got a loan extention Tuesday for an additional seven years. The move comes as a private company seeks to use a building at Grayson County’s Juvenile Detention Center site to house female juvenile offenders.
Grayson County commissioners Tuesday agreed to new plan at the weekly meeting of the group.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said the deal is a good one for the county for several reasons including the fact that the private company will reserve one bed for a Grayson County juvenile for free and that Grayson County will have the options of paying for other beds if needed.
Last year, Grayson County housed juvenile females somewhere in Texas for 398 days and in 2019, the county has housed a female for 441 days.
He also said the company will offer up to 40 of what he called “high paying jobs” that can be filled by Grayson County residents, the company that will be using the building will provide its own cameras and servers for the facility which will reduce county costs by about $12,000 a year.
The company that will lease the facility, Magers said, will pay $90,000 a year to do so.
He explained that in 2011, Grayson County agreed to loan the Grayson County Juvenile Board $1,519,814 to build a facility at the site at North Texas Regional Airport - Perrin Field. He said the loan was to be paid back in ten years with four percent interest. However, the state discontinued the program that the building was built to address and the building, when completed, was not needed.
The new agreement will see the Juvenile Board pay back that original amount over a 17 year period at a rate of $125,000 a year starting in February of 2020.
Grayson County’s Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Lisa Tomlinson said she has worked with the Rite of Passage in the past, and she told commissioners she visited the company’s facilities in another state while trying to decide if she should send juveniles there in her previous employment and was impressed by the way the staff at the facility took part in the day-to-day lives of the juveniles including doing things like rooting for them at sporting events and running with them on runs.
She said keeping Grayson County’s juvenile girls at home is the best option because the success rate for kids who stay closer to home is higher because parents can visit more often, probation staff can visit and the juveniles can get important after care once they have finished their time at the facility.
Right now, Grayson County has two girls who are housed out of county, and Tomlinson said most of their visits with family are going on via the internet. While that is better than nothing, it is not ideal, she said.
Rite of Passage currently has a facility in Grandbury, she said, that houses both boys and girls and this will allow them to separate the girls. The facility, she said, is post adjudication. The age range could be from 10 to 17, but she said most will likely be 13 to 17.
Jerrie Whiteley is the Criminal Justice Editor. She can be reached at JWhiteley@HeraldDemocrat.com.