TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – A proposal from the Vigo County Commissioners would award the Vigo County Juvenile Justice Center $2 million.
Commissioners proposed a plan to the Vigo County Council that would spend $16 million of roughly $20 million worth of ARPA funds that the county has available. $2 million of that would be allocated for the juvenile justice center. That plan still needs approval from the council.
Education and mental health services are the two areas that the money would go toward. VCJJC Executive Director Norm Loudermilk praised the good work that the facility has been able to accomplish.
“That will steer them toward hopefully going to college or getting a trade and being a productive member of society,” Loudermilk said.
He mentioned actions such as working with the Vigo County School Corporation to get detainees caught up in their school credits as one of the many good things the facility is doing..
“What we want to do is let them know that this is not the end,” Loudermilk explained. “That paper may be wrinkled, but we’re going to straighten it out.”
Commissioner Chris Switzer said that reducing recidivism was on the minds of the commissioners as they worked through the plan on how to spend ARPA funds. He explained the importance on making a transformational change on youth who are in the juvenile system.
“We want to make sure there’s education and ways available for that child to be able to get out of that constant recidivism that maybe their parent of family has constantly went through in the past,” Switzer stated.
The VCJJC is the only juvenile justice center on the western portion of Indiana. Loudermilk said that the facility is housing about 25 detainees.
Loudermilk hinted that conversations are underway to potentially find a new location for the juvenile justice center. No ARPA funds would go toward a potential move.
Loudermilk suggested moving closer to the Vigo County Jail.
“Logistically, the jail provides meals for us here,” Loudermilk explained. “The medical staff for our juveniles is at the jail.”