The budget approved Sunday night in the legislature OK’d $4  million to get a new juvenile justice facility up and running in Bunkie. Once fully funded at 12-million dollars, the site will host 72 beds, and utilize the Missouri Model that emphasizes rehabilitation methods to deal with young offenders. Office of Juvenile Justice Deputy Secretary Dr. James Bueche says it provides relief to an overburdened system.

"One of them is 70 years old. One of them is over 80 years old. We continually have maintenance problems with them. They are not built on that therapeutic model, so hopefully, we will be able to use this facility to deal with some of our population in those facilities.”

The facility will house juvenile offenders who have been classified as a threat to the community and thus are not eligible for community-based rehabilitation.

Bueche says the new location will build on modern therapeutic research that shows better outcomes for kids who get a good education while being treated and receive specialized care.

“This facility is state of the art, the footprint is built on the therapeutic model of having twelve kids per dorm, social service and social workers on the dorm.”

High school diploma programs and vocational training will be offered.

Bueche says he trusts that if the new facility gets fully funded, they’ll be able to show the same positive results that have been produced in other states.

“What we feel confident in seeing is our recidivism rates for those kids in that facility will go down because we are able to deliver services in a more effective and therapeutic manner.”

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