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Yuma County agrees to detain La Paz, Cocopah juveniles
Yuma County has agreed to detain juveniles on behalf of La Paz County, prompting an official to express concerns with possible overcrowding.
Staff presented a contract to the Board of Supervisors during the Monday meeting, asking that supervisors approve agreements with La Paz County and the Cocopah Indian Tribe for the detention of juveniles for fiscal year 2012-13.
Board Chairman Greg Ferguson questioned why Yuma County would accept juveniles from outside the county when he's heard of overcrowding at the local Juvenile Justice Center in the past.
Tim Hardy, director of juvenile justice services, noted he expects the number of juveniles from La Paz County to be “very minimal,” about two or three a month. He added that overcrowding has not been an issue recently.
Hardy also explained that the neighboring county doesn't have own its own juvenile facility.
He added that the facility would turn away juveniles if overcrowding became an issue. Supervisor Casey Prochaska asked whether that was noted in the agreement. Hardy conceded that it's not in the agreement but rather a verbal understanding.
However, the contract indicates that either party may terminate the agreement at any time if they mutually agree to do so in writing. In addition, any party may terminate the contract unilaterally, with or without cause, with 30 days advance written notice.
Supervisors unanimously approved both contracts, which allow juveniles from La Paz County and the Cocopah tribal reservation who are alleged to be delinquent or children who are considered incorrigible to be confined to the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center. The young detainees are maintained separate from the jail or adult lockups.
The La Paz County Juvenile Probation Department agrees to pay the Juvenile Justice Center a daily rate of $80 per juvenile. The Cocopah Tribe agrees to pay a daily rate of $175 per juvenile from 1-30 days and a daily rate per juvenile of $200 from 31-45 days.
Both La Paz County and the tribe agree to reimburse the Juvenile Justice Center for the cost of all non-routine medical, mental health and education services that are required by juveniles referred to the facility.
La Paz County and the tribe will also provide transportation to and from the facility when juveniles under their jurisdiction are booked into and released from the facility, when appearances are required at a court hearing and for medical, dental or other appointments.
The Yuma County Juvenile Detention staff will assist when available on transports within the Yuma area.
Neither Yuma County nor the Juvenile Justice Center will be responsible for any legal representation needed by juveniles under the La Paz County and the tribe's jurisdiction.
In other action, supervisors approved agreements with the cities of Yuma, Somerton and San Luis for mandated weekend and holiday court service for the period from July through June 2013.
Staff explained that any person who is detained must be seen by a judge within 24 hours or be released. Therefore, a judge must be available everyday, including weekends and holidays, to conduct initial appearances hearings.
The Justice Court provides the weekend and holiday coverage for all courts in Yuma County, including the Yuma, Somerton and San Luis municipal courts. This is accomplished by means of a part-time judge pro-tempore and interpreter who are paid from the Yuma Justice Court - Court Enhancement Fund.
Using a formula based on the annual number of cases seen by the pro-tem for each court, the Yuma Municipal Court will pay $6,804, the Somerton Municipal Court will pay $425 and the San Luis Municipal Court will pay $1,276.
Mara Knaub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (928) 539-6856.