John Wiley Price Says Juvenile Detention Mismanaged, Wants $3M Cut

For months, Commissioner John Wiley Price has heard the complaints of under-staffing in Dallas County's juvenile detention facilities. Supervisors told him they badly needed more officers, and the department asked for a small budget increase, Price said. But when Price began to look at where officers were assigned in recent weeks, he found inefficiencies, he said. For example, one officer was overseeing just two youths in a specialty court assignment, the longtime county commissioner said. "They keep saying they need more," Price said this week. "It ain't a matter of hiring. It's a matter of management -- or lack thereof. Nobody's minding the ship." Price wants the juvenile department to cut $3.1 million in positions in the coming fiscal year. That means scrapping 14 of the department's 106 probation officers and 34 of its 317 juvenile detention officers, he said. Price said he arrived at those figures by comparing the staffing levels to Bexar County and reviewing ratios set forth by state standards such as 1 detention officer for every 12 youths and 1 probation officer per 100 youths. The cuts would occur through attrition and reassignments, so no one would be laid off, said budget director Ryan Brown. County officials are currently drafting the budget for fiscal year 2018. Despite rising property values, money will be tight because of a miscalculation on property tax revenue projections by the auditor's office. That error led to a $13 million budget shortfall, officials have said.  Continue reading...

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