- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - A new juvenile transition center for housing and treating young offenders is open in Muskegon County.

Judges, law enforcement officials and youth workers attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the $6 million building Thursday, The Muskegon Chronicle (https://bit.ly/1DhTXcQ ) reported. The 32-bed facility was constructed along with the nearby adult jail, which is not yet finished. It has four classrooms, two exercise areas, a computer lab and a medical and dental wing.

Vernon Oard, the center’s director of youth services, said the new facility is meant to represent “hope for the future, not a place of punishment.”

The center offers more options for group and family treatment, which will allow the young offenders to spend their doing something more productive and look toward the future, according to Oard.

“It won’t be about what’s wrong, but hopefully it’ll be about what we are going to do to make things right,” she said.

Furniture and equipment are expected to arrive at the facility on Monday, while juvenile residents are scheduled to move into the building the following day.

Judge Gregory Pittman, who presides over the family division of the court in Muskegon, said he commends the people who helped establish the new facility for having “the will and intent to do something good in this community.”

But the true testament will be whether the center can produce the kind of outcomes it was intended for, he said.

“This is a wonderfully built building … but it is only a building, ladies and gentlemen,” Pittman said. “It only becomes what we really want it to become, when we put the effort and care and concern into that building.”

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Information from: The Muskegon Chronicle, https://www.mlive.com/muskegon


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