Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Goodbye, Youth Study Center: Ribbon cut at new West Philly juvenile detention center

Mayor Nutter and a host of city officials cut the ribbon on the new $110 million Juvenile Justice Services Center in West Philly on Thursday, capping off an effort to close and replace the troubled Youth Study Center that took more than a decade.

Goodbye, Youth Study Center: Ribbon cut at new West Philly juvenile detention center

Mayor Nutter and a host of city officials cut the ribbon on the new $110 million Juvenile Justice Services Center in West Philly on Thursday, capping off an effort to close and replace the troubled Youth Study Center that took more than a decade.

The polished new building, with its "healing garden," quad, smart boards and other amenities, is "just like a college campus," said Marq Temple, executive director of the center, while giving a tour to the media. 

"Our kids deserve the best," an emotional Temple said. "You can't get them on the right track by putting them in some run-down place."

The detention center, on a five-acre plot at 48th Street and Haverford Avenue, will primarily house kids 13-20 who have been charged with a serious juvenile offense are awaiting trial. It's designed for 150 kids and will begin taking residents in late January or February. 

A usual detention stay is 1 to 12 days, Temple said, but some juveniles will be there for up to about 120 days if their case drags on.

A handful of protesters chanted outside the ribbon-cutting ceremony and held signs reading, "Schools not jails." 

"The city's priorities are horrifying," said Tim Dunn, 52, who lives in West Philly. "Millions of dollars are being cut from schools, and they're celebrating a youth prison."

Nutter commented on the protesters during his remarks and emphasized that the detention center will have educational services managed by the Philadelphia School District.

"Everybody wants service for different constituencies; they just don't want it anywhere near them," Nutter said. "These are our children."

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
 Follow William on Twitter

David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
 Follow David on Twitter

Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter