The Case For A New Juvenile Justice Facility
by Terry A. Simonson
We've often heard how sometimes bad things happen to good people. With kids, sometimes good kids come from a bad place. Before they ever get really started on a life of opportunities their robbed of the chance. Here at the Juvenile Bureau it's our purpose to take these falling stars and make them rising stars by providing a caring direction to their lives. With our professional staff working around these kids, a circle of hope is created. Hope for a better education, hope for better relationships, and hope that they, too, can see a meaning and purpose for their life. Our purpose is to give them a purpose. When kids aren't given the structure, guidance, and upbringing in a safe, caring, and responsible home environment, how else and where else are they to learn how the world works and how they responsibly fit in? They're just kids.
|OUR MISSION |
At the Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau it is our mission to serve each child and family in a setting that is safe, fair, just, and dignified and mindful of the respect and needs of all we serve. For the time the child and family are in our system, we serve as another parental presence in the child's life.
|OUR BACKGROUND |
The Oklahoma Legislature created the first juvenile court in Oklahoma in Tulsa County in 1949. In 1969 the juvenile center and detention home were opened to provide a facility for the services administered by the Juvenile Bureau under the direction of the Juvenile Court. Forty years later, the Juvenile Court and Juvenile Bureau still occupy the same facility and time has taken its toll. In 2008 there were over 5500 juvenile cases brought through the facility. And with over 200 on site and off site professional's staff utilizing the facility as part of the juvenile justice process, no longer can we claim that we are serving our purposes fairly, justly or safely.
|OUR ROLE |
For decades every community has had to respond to the consequences of a failed or broken family situation. All too often we deal not with the cause but with the results of this. Most often the greatest impact of the ills and failings of our society fall upon our children and youth. In every generation it's the role and responsibility of the adults to care and guide the upbringing of our children. Not just for the obedient, the achiever, and the well adjusted but more importantly for those who's environment destroy their chance. At the Juvenile Bureau we see our role to assemble the best professionals in their field and, within the juvenile justice process, develop a complete approach to rehabilitation, recovery, and reentry back into the community. We know if we fail at this role that in time society will once again be confronted with the problems of this child.
The inadequacy of our juvenile justice facilities cannot be overstated. It's at best to gain control of the chaos in a child's but its near impossible when your facilities can not provide to all who enter a sense of justice, orderliness, safety, and dignity. That's why it's time, after 40 years, for the Tulsa community to come together in support of our need for a new juvenile justice complex which:
- Complies with the American with Disabilities Act.
- Provides safe victim and witness areas.
- Provides adequate emergency ingress and egress.
- .Provides security for all court and legal staff.
- Ample courtroom space for judicial proceedings.
- Conference and counseling space.