State delays opening of Clark County juvenile facility

Delays in hiring staff and completing building repairs have pushed back next week’s planned reopening of Nevada’s only maximum-security juvenile correctional facility in Clark County.

The reopening of the former Red Rock Academy hasn’t been rescheduled yet. State officials had hoped to open it on Sept. 1.

The state’s Division of Child and Family Services had to fill the key position of superintendent first, said Chrystal Main, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. Superintendent Michael L. Fletcher, formerly with the Nevada Department of Corrections, just started work on Monday.

His annual salary is $103,824.

“Now that the superintendent’s position has been filled, DCFS is able to move forward with filling the remaining positions,” Main said in written responses late Friday. “New employees will participate in a three-week training academy prior to youth being accepted at the facility.”

The delay in opening what is now Summit View Youth Correctional Center could continue to have an impact on Clark County’s juvenile detention center, which saw its population jump shortly after the state’s juvenile correctional facility was closed.

Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice Services Director John “Jack” Martin didn’t return a call seeking comment late Friday.

Just months after Red Rock closed, the Clark County juvenile detention center saw a population spike. The center reached 151 juveniles, which was the highest population the center had in the last 2.5 years. The main factors were the closure of the state’s juvenile correctional facility and an increase in parole violations. Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice Services Director John “Jack” Martin didn’t return a call seeking comment late Friday.

The state abruptly closed its detention facility on Range Road in March. The facility was closed because of compliance issues on the part of Rite of Passage, the nonprofit that had a contract with the state to run the facility.

State officials met Friday and will continue to meet on Monday to decide when the facility will be ready to open, Main said.

Proposed repairs to equipment and some areas of the building are taking longer than anticipated because of the bidding process involved with vendors, Main said. Repairs related to security also must still be addressed.

State lawmakers in the spring approved 66 positions for the facility, but only 10 have been filled. Hiring staff can take a while because of the lengthy process of screening applications, conducting interviews and doing background checks, Main said.

The 96-bed facility is budgeted to operate with 48 beds.

The facility’s approved budget for the 2016-17 biennium is $14.4 million.

Contact Yesenia Amaro at yamaro@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3843. Find her on Twitter: @YeseniaAmaro

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