Teen Detention Centers Filling Up

Monday, November 19th 2007, 7:24 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Overcrowding and staff shortages are having an impact on Oklahoma's juvenile justice agency. The director of the Office of Juvenile Affairs says the agency is running out of room to put juveniles and is struggling to find enough people to watch over them.

Director Gene Christian says the situation isn't much different than the crisis facing Oklahoma's prisons.

Christian says that while the state Corrections Department can cram more inmates into its prisons, the juvenile justice agency must stick to strict ratios of one staff member per 10 teens during the day and one to 12 at night.

The juvenile crunch is worsened by a shortage in staff. Christian says he's had to reduce the number of available beds because he can't fill open positions for detention workers.