Batesville Officials Hopeful that State will Re-Open Juvenile Facility

AUGUST 8, 2004 - Posted at 3:12 p.m. CDT

BATESVILLE, AR - Officials at Batesville and surrounding Independence County are hoping the state can make a commitment that would allow a youth lockup at Batesville to reopen.  The 30-bed, 9,000-square-foot juvenile detention center closed on July 30 because it wasn't getting enough business from the state and nearby counties.

Jim Starzy, former administrator at the privately owned and operated youth lockup, said expenses had risen too high to be covered by income the center was receiving.  He said liability insurance premiums had risen from about $10,000 a year to about $50,000 a year.

The center has been open for about five years.  On Friday, Batesville-area leaders met with an official of the state Division of Youth Services.  They talked about how many state prisoners it would take to allow the the youth lockup to re-open.  Independence County Judge David Wyatt says he expects to hear in a couple of weeks how many juveniles the state could send to the center.