The Perpetual Shit Storm of the Juvenile Justice Center


Cuyahoga County Council now plans to hold a series of Inquisition-style hearings to assign blame in the non-stop fiasco that is the Juvenile Justice Center.

Yesterday's News: The Juvy Palace of Disaster, which is only 14 months old, cost taxpayers $1 million last year in repairs and maintenance. Included in the docket of work items were 126 sink repairs and 19 calls for leaky pipes. Additionally, crews spent 91 hours hanging pictures and clocks on the walls.

Today's News: The older kids housed in the detention center keep jumping off their beds and setting off the fire sprinklers. In response, the county literally wants to raise the ceilings to prevent further damage.

Raise the ceilings? Are they out of their minds? Via the PD:

Public Works Director Bonnie Teeuwen reported that raising ceilings in the detention center to put sprinkler heads out of reach of vandals would cost "millions and millions."

And County Council seems to think that's the right call, so now they intend to wrangle all the architects and contractors and design companies by subpoena so that they can angrily point fingers and collect reimbursements for what they're calling "design flaws."

Evidently, because young inmates jumping around and setting off sprinklers has happened at other juvy halls around the country, designers and builders were expected to take that into consideration.

Here's some basic math for the county's consideration:

1) Since the $189 million-dollar Juvenile Palace of Disaster opened, sprinklers have been wrongfully discharged a total of 16 times, costing an estimated $29,000. That's a pain in the ass to be sure, but much less so than the "millions and millions" it would cost to raise the fucking ceilings; not to mention the logistical chaos of housing delinquent youths elsewhere for the duration of the repairs.

2) You can get a pretty sturdy sprinkler head cover for about $6. They're used at gyms all over the country to prevent accidental discharge from errant basketballs. There are 30 cells in question at the J-POD, so that'd be $180, plus shipping and handling and whatever the (likely outrageous) wages they're paying installation crews. Again, significantly less than multiple millions.

The good news hidden in this nonsense-haystack is that even with the sprinkler discharge, the Palace of Disaster almost certainly hasn't seen an appreciable increase in water costs, seeing as juvenile justice officials make the kids shower twice a day.

Follow Sam Allard on Twitter @SceneSallard

About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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