Prevention vs. detention: Children’s advocates question spending by Juvenile Justice department
The dorms at Jacksonville Youth Academy are spic and span — a remarkable feat considering the facility houses 24 teenage boys.
Situated on a fenced patch of green near the Nassau County line, the academy serves boys 14-18 who have been ordered by a judge to complete a substance-abuse program. Most boys take between six and nine months. There are dozens of places like it around the state — residential facilities, they are called — that serve more than 2,700 young people who have trouble with the law each year.
The Department of Juvenile Justice, which oversees them, is requesting $5.2 million more in the upcoming state budget to to add 60 beds at its residential facilites. Some advocates say that money could be put to better use to help kids avoid residential facilities altogether.