- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

BUTLER, Okla. (AP) - A group home for male juvenile offenders in western Oklahoma will close after four years, an official said.

The president of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, which oversees four facilities through agreements with the Office of Juvenile Affairs, said the Butler Skills Development Center will close because runaways are causing concerns in the community.

President Randy Beutler told The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1xcLq9f ) that some runaways have stolen vehicles. He said he expects the teens, ages 16 to 18, will be moved out by December.

“The idea is to take adjudicated youth and teach them skills and hope they don’t end up in prison,” Beutler said. “We have had several who have left the facility. Frankly, if they decide they’re going to walk away, they can find a way to walk away.”

Spokeswoman Paula Christiansen of the Office of Juvenile Affairs said officials are evaluating where they will be placed when they leave the Butler home, which provided general education and training in welding skills.

The school contracts with other groups to educate the teens and has notified them about the closing. It opened the center in 2010 to save the state money, help the teens and offer employment for residents in the small community of Butler.

University spokesman Brian Adler said as many as 20 people have been employed at the facility. Fourteen currently work there and all except two to three have been offered jobs elsewhere.

The university will continue to oversee the other three juvenile group homes in Oklahoma.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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