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Gwinnett juvenile detention facility to close

Gwinnett’s youth detention center will close next year, officials announced Thursday.

Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles told Gwinnett law enforcement officials, judges and legislators that the 30-year-old facility will close in June, and young offenders will be split between juvenile facilities in Rockdale and Hall counties.

“DJJ’s Gwinnett facility has weathered more than 30 continuous years of wear as a youth detention center,” Niles said in a press release. “The Department of Juvenile Justice made the decision to close the Gwinnett RYDC next fiscal year based on expectations of increasing maintenance costs for an aging facility with significant infrastructure issues.”

Earlier this year, officials had to transport the children out of the facility when a major sewer line collapsed beneath the facility’s concrete floors, he said. Emergency repairs caused the facility to be offline for weeks, and Niles said other repairs would been needed if the facility was not closed.

The Gwinnett Regional Youth Detention Center can accomodate 49 young offenders — 38 males and 11 females. Those who are in custody when the facility closes will be assigned to a newly renovated Rockdale facility or a Gainesville location, based on where they live. Officials plan to begin monthly coordination meetings to plan for the relocation and the transition of juvenile services.

Niles said he also hopes to provide a smooth transition for staffers with re-employment.

“I’m here to assure you that DJJ is committed to this RYDC Staff because this staff is committed to the DJJ mission,” Nile said. “We need experienced professionals like you and we will continue to work together on the DJJ Team to serve the needs of these youth entrusted to our custody and care.”