The Transformation of the State’s Juvenile Justice System was Furthered with the Dedication of the Replacement Cabarrus County Youth Development Center
“The transformation of the State’s juvenile justice system was first put to the test here at the Jackson Project, where we showed lawmakers and the public that a therapeutic approach can work with the youth served by our youth development centers. Today is not about opening a building; it is about transforming a philosophy” stated Secretary George L. Sweat of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, at today’s dedication of the replacement Cabarrus County Youth Development Center. Community members, lawmakers, government officials, juvenile justice representatives, and school officials were all on hand to celebrate the dedication of a new building, but to a greater extent to celebrate the philosophical change in juvenile justice the facility will help to bring about.
A blended education-treatment Model of Care will serve as the programming youth will receive at the replacement youth development center. This Model of Care was developed by the Department to be used in all the replacement facilities and was first tested at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center in a project titled the Jackson Project. From the preliminary findings of the Jackson Project, the Department has seen outstanding results including: a 73 percent decrease in re-arrest of juveniles in the Jackson Project in comparison to standard care; and a 560 percent increase in the number of students upon leaving the Jackson Project seeking education beyond high school in comparison to standard care.
This replacement facility will be the foundation of a more therapeutic approach to providing services to our youth and their families, with the intent of a community-oriented juvenile justice system. By building smaller, community-based facilities throughout the State, the Department will be able to more effectively assist youth with the skills they need to become productive citizens in North Carolina’s communities.
In addition to the replacement facility being dedicated today in Cabarrus County, three other 32 bed replacement youth development centers are also near completion, including 32 bed facilities in Lenoir County, Edgecombe County, and Chatham County. The Department has also been authorized to begin construction on one other 32 bed facility in Rockingham County.
The Department will call upon community members to volunteer to assist the youth served by this facility. The Department has seen that youth who have a strong community support structure are much more likely to be successful. If community members are interested in volunteering, they may contact the Department.
The 96-bed facility will provide employment to Cabarrus and surrounding counties and an estimated operating budget of $11.3 million to the local community. The construction budget for the facility was approximately $15.5 million.