On Thursday morning, May 30, 15 female clients at the Mansfield Juvenile Treatment Facility were bussed out. Those girls are on their way to an all-female facility in Harrisburg, AR.
Earlier this year, the governor announced statewide changes to juvenile treatment centers. Department of Human Services Deputy Director Keesa Smith said they are converting Harrisburg to an all-girls facility. “We will be transitioning the girls currently located in Mansfield from this site and Mansfield will become all-male,” stated Smith. Adding, “our agency plans to increase the capacity of the Mansfield facility by 16.”
“The overall goal is to cut youth incarceration,” Hutchinson said. “Over time, funds that would cover the cost of locking up children can go to therapeutic group homes, psychiatric and substance-abuse programs, community-based services, and diversion efforts that direct children away from formal processing in juvenile courts while still holding them accountable.”
On July 1 a private contracted company, Youth Opportunity Investments, will assume operations of the Mansfield facility.