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Still a Lack of Room for Juvenile Offenders in Alpena County

It’s a problem across the state. Many counties are having trouble housing the amount of juvenile offenders in the justice system.

Alpena County is no exception. “What we’re seeing is our most at-risk youth, maybe most violent offenders, facilities are turning them away because they don’t have to take them. They’re full no matter what,” said Janelle Mott, Alpena County juvenile officer.

Some offenders are having to be relocated and sometimes it reaches as far as other states. “We’re going out of state,” said Mott. “We’ve placed kids in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana. We’ve made calls as far away as Arizona.”

As the amount of space continues to come up short, juvenile facilities are being more selective about the kids they take in. “The facilities get picky. If I can get a retail fraud kid who cooperates every day, goes to school, listens, is not physically violent at all, for the same amount of money as a kid who picks a fight every day, attacks staff. Which kid do I want in my facility?” Mott said.

Mott is working with the county to get more beds available, but it’s not clear where exactly the funding will come from. She’s hoping it won’t come from the taxpayers of Alpena, but that still remains a possibility.