NASHVILLE — A proposal to close Taft Youth Center in Bledsoe County is drawing bipartisan objections from area state lawmakers.
They say the secure facility is filled with older juvenile offenders that other centers “have been unable to control.”
State Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Kathryn O’Day today made the proposal to shut down the facility in her presentation to Gov. Bill Haslam, who is conducting public budget hearings.
“It’s our most expensive place,” O’Day said, also noting the facility’s age and location makes it difficult to operate.
In a letter to the governor, two senators and three representatives called closure of Taft “drastic” and said closing it is not in the interest of the state, Bledsoe County or offenders.
The facility “is the most restrictive facility for juvenile offenders,” they wrote. “Taft’s population is compromised of the more serious and older delinquents. The sentences are more adult oriented or they are serving a third commitment.”
The letter was signed by state Sens. Eric Stewart, D-Belvidere, and Charlotte Burkes, D-Monterey, as well as Reps. Bill Harmon, D-Dunlap, Jim Cobb, R-Spring City and Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...