Neighbors and advocates for convicted juveniles are against proposed detention facility location

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The City of Chesapeake has proposed building a Joint Juvenile Justice Center in the city, not only replacing their outdated one, but also so that juvenile offenders from Hampton Roads can be closer to their families, allowing easier visitation.

The problem, it seems, is nobody but the city wants the center there.

The city provided information saying the new facility will replace the current facility in Chesapeake and help out the state by adding a location after their previous location was closed.

Residents however have been opposed to the plan since the beginning, saying they do not want a juvenile detention center in their backyard.

The first location was proposed for a plot of land on Military Highway. Residents quickly shot the idea down at a meeting last year. The new location is for a different location in Deep Creek, but advocates for juveniles being housed in the center say it is not a convenient place and the location is going to be too large for the goal they are trying to attain.

Last night a meeting was held by RISE for Youth, a nonpartisan campaign in Virginia advocating for community alternatives to youth incarceration. Spokeswoman Valerie Slater said nobody was in support of the location being put in such a rural location as it would make it difficult for families to get to the center to visit and hard for juveniles to assimilate back into the community.

As it stands now, the $90M project would be built and maintained by Chesapeake and the Virginia Dept. of Juvenile Justice. The construction phase is a ways off, but the city has a plan in place to put the center within city limits.

About 112 inmates can be housed in the proposed facility, about 50 of which would be Chesapeake offenders. Others would be from across the Commonwealth, but many from Hampton Roads.

City Council will hear new items on the Juvenile Detention Center on November 21st. They are scheduled to vote on the plan at that meeting.