Gwinnett County

Gwinnett Co. sheriff hopes new youth detention center will help set kids straight

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Gwinnett County Sheriff Keybo Taylor says he’s leading the charge for a youth detention facility in Gwinnett County, citing an unfair burden for law enforcement and families a decade after the previous facility closed due to crumbling conditions.

“I don’t believe that we’re giving these kids the best of services,” Taylor said.

Taylor and House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) made an announcement on Tuesday that $3.8 million has already been appropriated in the state budget proposal for a new Regional Youth Detention Center (RYDC) in Gwinnett County.

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Since 2014, juveniles placed under arrest have been transported to detention centers in neighboring counties.

Because of the travel distance, it can be a strain on law enforcement and families of the children who want to visit and receive wrap-around services.

It can also be difficult for the juvenile to spend a reasonable amount of time with his or her attorney prior to a court date, according to officials.

“When those services are stretched out like that, are we really giving these kids, our juveniles, the best of service?” Taylor asked.

Efstration and Taylor began working on a proposal for a new RYDC last year and were able to secure taxpayer dollars for site planning and preparation this year.

No timetable has been set for when construction will begin or be completed.

Gwinnett County officials are currently working on ideas for where the facility would be located.

When a child is arrested, being able to receive subsequent wrap-around services in the county they live in is more beneficial for the child and his or her family, according to Efstration.

“They can actually get the therapeutic treatment that they need to be closer to their families,” he said.

Juvenile Court Judge Nhan-Ai Simms says families don’t always have the means to travel for therapy.


“That would be difficult for the families to partake if they’re having to drive all the way out to Rockdale or Gainesville,” she said.

Sheriff Taylor says what happens after a child’s arrest can be the difference in what keeps that child out of jail as an adult.

“We want to give services to make sure we change the behavior of juveniles,” he said.

Once constructed, the facility would be operated by the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

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