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Midland County's juvenile center master plans soon underway

The chief juvenile probation officer says he expects a proposal from and a contract with an architecture firm this week to get the ball rolling.

MIDLAND, Texas — Right now, it screams prison cell, but the goal for the Midland County juvenile center master plan is a prettier picture.

"Modern facilities now are built with an eye to something called trauma-informed design because we have so many kids that have very serious mental health issues. Yes, it's a secure facility and it has elements in it so that these kids that have the mental health issues we can help maybe keep them calm, keep them supported while they're being detained and going through the court process," said Forest Hanna, chief juvenile probation officer. "It's not coddling of criminals, but it's taking care of their mental health needs so that while they're here, we can keep them out of a mental health crisis."

"The biggest factor was looking for a firm that has done work in the juvenile arena. Building a juvenile detention center is a lot different than just building a jail," Hanna said.

Right now, the Barbara Culver center isn't quite fulfilling the needs of juveniles living here.

"One type of facility we do not have that we need is what's called a post-adjudication treatment facility so kids can be there to receive substance abuse treatment, mental health support, but these are long term placement, nine months, one year, even longer," Hanna said.

"Hot days and when it's cold and raining, without a cover we can't really use it out here," Hanna said.

And it's smelly thanks to plumbing issues.

"It really stinks in here today," Hanna said.

But if commissioners approve an architect tomorrow, master plans to make this place better can begin.