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New budget forces some state agencies to make quick cuts

Posted June 29, 2011

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— The Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is scrambling to make the necessary cuts to meet the new state budget, which takes effect Friday.

The department is closing the Samarkand Youth Development Center in Moore County to help reduce spending. The 600-acre center opened in 1918 and housed as many as 200 youths, mostly 14- to 17-year-olds, charged with crimes.

The last of the youths moved out this week, transferred to the remaining six centers statewide, and the 49 employees at Samarkand packed up Wednesday faced being unemployed by the end of the week.

"It's sad, but life goes on, moves on," said Eva Dockery, a nurse at Samarkand for more than 30 years whose daughter was hired at the facility in February.

"It's been a long road – frustrating, stressful," said Mable Townsend, a social worker for 12 years at the center. "At Samarkand, it is a family. It's our family."

Secretary of Juvenile Justice Linda Hayes called the impact of the $15 million budget cut "a crisis." The department closed another youth development center in February to meet previous budget cuts.

"We'll have judges issuing orders we won't be able to comply with," Hayes said, noting the department has to reduce its workforce by 15 percent by Friday, including workers who handle court-ordered commitments and post-release supervision.

Samarkand Youth Development Center in Moore County New budget forces some state agencies to make quick cuts

The cutbacks put the public at risk, she said. Because of the shortage of beds, many troubled adolescents will be forced to move through the system more quickly – youths stayed at Samarkand for a year, on average – and dozens are likely to be released into supervised community programs, she said.

"It is just absolutely devastating," she said.

The state Department of Correction is also bracing for cuts with the new budget.

The DOC plans to close minimum-security prisons in Durham, Charlotte, Cabarrus County and Haywood County by the end of the year. About 800 inmates will be transferred to other prisons, and workers might be offered jobs at nearby facilities.

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  • Rebelyell55 Jun 30, 2011

    That's the sad part of the budget cuts. The agencies cutting in a panic with no real direction. Refusing to cut salary, stop raises, cutting out the real fat. So sad.

  • dumpbin Jun 30, 2011

    They can always go work for WalMart....state's largest employer...

  • Lucas Turner Jun 30, 2011

    Listen to the attached video 2kidz1hub. It says two dozen or so at the 1 minute mark. Thanks.

  • 2kidz1hub Jun 30, 2011

    Lucas Turner said "Secretary Hayes is appointed by the Governor. What do you expect her to say. Forty Eight employees worked here charged with supervision and care and custody of approximately two dozen juvenile detainees."

    Where in this article does it say only 24 youth were cared for?

  • comitatus1 Jun 30, 2011

    What would have been helpful concerning this story is some real reporting. Is closing this facility devastating to public safety for the citizens of North Carolina? Or is it just devastating to the people who work there? We'll likely never know, since the reporter didn't see fit to find out.

    Chris

  • oldaltar Jun 30, 2011

    Only time will tell and I hope the chickens will not come to your homes to roost. If they they do please be honest enough to tell us.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 30, 2011

    As usual WRAL reports from the Democrats perspective telling us how the reasonable changes to the budget to reduce government spending are "DEVASTATING".

    WRAL should label itself as an OPINION Source instead of an unbiased NEWS source.

    Scary thing was that the non-news source the National Enquirer beat WRAL in releasing the news about the John Edwards scandal a few years ago.

  • Lucas Turner Jun 30, 2011

    Secretary Hayes is appointed by the Governor. What do you expect her to say. Forty Eight employees worked here charged with supervision and care and custody of approximately two dozen juvenile detainees. Thats two employees for each detainee. Not very cost effective and then the cost of the facility management and infrastructure, lights, water, grounds, repairs, phones, etc., very expensive for 24 juvenile detainees. Put them in a structured day program or foster home type environment and Im sure they can be monitored just as effectively with minimal danger to the public but saving taxpayer dollars when dollars are very scarce.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 29, 2011

    Well, they should have taken a bigger cut out of the bloated education budget, but your lovely Governor whined.

  • mep Jun 29, 2011

    Oh well... when you dont have the money you have to make cuts. People will suffer, people will survive.