• 70°

Center marks 20th anniversary

Friday was a time for celebration at the Warren County Juvenile Detention Center. Twenty years to the day since the center opened, current and former employees gathered to celebrate the impact the center has had on Warren County Youth.

Two of the employees, administrator Katherine Holden and supervisor James Goodman, have worked at the center since the day the doors opened.

“We were here the very first day it opened,” Holden said. “We are celebrating us. We are celebrating the detention center still in existence. We wanted people from past and future to stop by and celebrate with us.”

The center serves as a detention facility for youth between the ages of 10 and 17 who have committed acts of delinquency. The maximum time a juvenile can spend at the facility is 90 days, but Holden said the average time is two weeks.

“Prior to this facility there was no place for youthful offenders that the judge could place them locally that they could turn their life around,” Sheriff Martin Pace said. “The purpose of this facility is to get the kids back on track so they won’t ruin their life.”

The facility has two fulltime teachers on staff to provide classes while juveniles are detained. They also work with counselors to rehabilitate and work through issues that lead to them being detained.

“Under my administration, I brought in what we call an hour of power,” Holden said. “Every Tuesday, we get local ministers, someone in the faith community, pastors, to come in.”

No one can be forced to attend and be ministered to, but Holden said all of the juveniles come and that the hour of power is a time when they can open up and talk about the issues they face in their life.

“A lot of people, when you say detention center view it as a bad thing, and it can be viewed as a bad thing, but what we have been here for the last 20 years is to help build these kids,” Holden said.

Holden and Goodman both started as detention officers at the center and have risen up the ranks while working to support and change the lives of those that are detained

“When I first started here, I came in as a job,” Goodman said. “I didn’t know I was going to stay here this long. As I went on with life and I realized all the kids that I had touched, I kept telling myself that this is something that I want to do.”

Their dedication has not gone unnoticed and both were presented with an order signed by Warren County youth court judge John S. Price Jr. thanking for them service.

“Holden and Goodman have dedicated their entire adult lives to the youth of this county,” Pace said. “The staff in this facility whether a guard, administrator or teacher, they are all dedicated to the youth of this community.”