Proposed Site For Tulsa Juvenile Justice Center Upsets Nearby Residents

Saturday, October 3rd 2015, 6:41 pm
By: News On 6

A new juvenile detention center planned for north Tulsa isn't going over so well with some people.

We told you about the proposed location last week, and now the community is hosting forums to discuss the project that county leaders say will bring jobs and development to the area. But neighbors say that perpetuates a negative stereotype.

Community members say they're sick of the negative connotations associated with the area and believe the new project will just bring more of that.

Passionate arguments against a new juvenile justice center filled the Rudisille Library Saturday morning.

"To bring a prison facility for kids into a community and say that that's going to develop that community is ridiculous," Arielle Davis said.

Davis grew up in north Tulsa, and she doesn't like the idea of a juvenile justice center as a way to brings jobs and development to the area.

“You start off saying you can be anything you want to be and no one ever says, ‘Well, you can go work in a corrections facility for adults or children,’” Davis said. “So it just makes me question what kind of message they're trying to send our community."

The Justice center is being considered for a stretch of land off 36th Street north and Cincinatti.

County Commissioner Karen Keith helped pick the site. She says the facility is not the monster it's being made out to be.

“You kept hearing ‘prison,’” Keith said. “Our facility is about healing and turning the lives around of these young people, and that's why really this site is so lovely.”

The forum was one of many planned discussions to hear the community's thoughts and concerns on the project.

People lined up to share their opinions, and most were against the center.

The tone of the discussion was frustration, something Keith says she hears.

“I got a lot of names and numbers of people who I can reach out to individually and we heard everything,” she said. “And now we really have to assess what we want to do moving forward. …We've got a lot of feelers out to see where else we could go."

Arielle says she wants young people in the community to stand up and voice their opinions. She says they are the ones heading into the workforce and the future of the community.

“So I feel it's important for at least me to be here, and hopefully encourage others to be here as well," she said.