Legislators say juvenile center needed in WNC

Jordan Schrader * JSchrade@CITIZEN-TIMES.com * published January 13, 2009 3:41 pm Raleigh The state has been opening a series of new juvenile lockups billed as safer and more modern, but none so far are west of ... Read more
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Jake

Zirconia, NC

#1 Jan 13, 2009
There has been so much lip service about replacing the juvenile center in Swanannoa that it ain't even funny. Former Secretary Sweatt had no plans to place a center back in the western part of the State. He had so many problems with the western folks (Moore, Stanley, Goforth, Nesbitt and that woman from Hendersonville) that he was willing to locate the new centers down east and shut out this part of the State. That's why he made that deal with DOC for the JEC property. DOC will take over that property full time next year- where will they put the juveniles and what about the folks that work there. Why is Apodaca-who is from Hendersonville- and somebody from Mecklenburg County more concerned about it than our own local Buncombe County officials. Maybe they want to see it gone from this area too. I hear that the new centers are first class, state of the art- but high class centers do not rehabilitate juveniles- the good quality staff (like those at JEC) do. Sweatt sold out the staff at JEC and the juveniles out there. I wish someone who finally ask Sweatt- and demand a answer- why he lied about the JEC and what did he do with the money that he saved by cutting loose all those staff at JEC- maybe he used it to build his new centers (down east).
The axe man cometh

Zirconia, NC

#2 Jan 13, 2009
That place in Swanannoa is gone and good riddance. There has been more drama out there than on tv lately. No body wants to accept anything that is happening out there and everyone is pointing the finger at the other. Go ahead and move all those kids down east, let people down there have to deal with articles by Jordan about the evils and horrors that go on in those centers. I hope they build a real big new center in Sweatt's neighborhood in Winston-Salem.
JEC Alumni

Zirconia, NC

#3 Jan 13, 2009
As a former employee of the Juvenile Evaluation Center, I have seen it go from a program that was top program, not only in the State, but in the whole Country. The JEC was looked on far and wide as a program that worked with and cared for the youth that were sent there- boys and girls. We dealt with some very aggressive and dangerous kids and lost good staff due to injuries and even death. We worked with over 300 kids on a old military hospital campus with dorm style barracks. We demanded and got respect from the children. We were fair and loved the work we did. Only in these last few years under the Sweatt administration has JEC gone to hell. Sweatt did not care about who was hurt out there- kid or staff. He never visited or supported his staff. I do believe that his overall plan was to close JEC out of spite to the Buncombe County officials too. There are a lot of needy children- troubled and dangerous- in our part of the State too and we need somewhere around here to work with them. Sweatt is gone now and now it's time for Governor Perdue and the new Secretary Hayes to step up and do the right thing. Get the juvenile program back on track and build somewhere quickly around here to help our kids.
jackie thompson

Charlotte, NC

#4 Jul 29, 2009
JEC Alumni wrote:
As a former employee of the Juvenile Evaluation Center, I have seen it go from a program that was top program, not only in the State, but in the whole Country. The JEC was looked on far and wide as a program that worked with and cared for the youth that were sent there- boys and girls. We dealt with some very aggressive and dangerous kids and lost good staff due to injuries and even death. We worked with over 300 kids on a old military hospital campus with dorm style barracks. We demanded and got respect from the children. We were fair and loved the work we did. Only in these last few years under the Sweatt administration has JEC gone to hell. Sweatt did not care about who was hurt out there- kid or staff. He never visited or supported his staff. I do believe that his overall plan was to close JEC out of spite to the Buncombe County officials too. There are a lot of needy children- troubled and dangerous- in our part of the State too and we need somewhere around here to work with them. Sweatt is gone now and now it's time for Governor Perdue and the new Secretary Hayes to step up and do the right thing. Get the juvenile program back on track and build somewhere quickly around here to help our kids.
i was a j.e.c kid and had a hard time but i wont lie i miss it..i should have taken better advantage while i was there...the staff did care...mr rich mr sams mr rumbo mrs peay..i got out through idp...i was a hard ass.well hard headed at least
sayit

United States

#5 Apr 3, 2010
Anybody from jec remember Kaye Owens ? She was a great person who helped many girls.Sorry to hear its gone it turned around lots of kids.
michael blankenship

United States

#6 Nov 13, 2010
I was employed at JEC for eleven years as a cottage parent and supervisor. I left and retrained as an RN specializing in trauma services. I left, not because of the children but because of the politicalization of the administration. At one time under the leadership of Don Padget, Betty Albright, the institution earned a national accreditation for the quality of its mainstream program. The state has always been eager to pursue " bricks and mortar" programs yet nurtures a blind spot to finds which are aimed to help its citizens, namely its children, which are referred to in treatment circles as "Throw away" childten. These are the
minors that have been abandoned, neglected, abused or worse. The staff at JEC were some of the most caring and professional staff, especially Ron Lytle, Bill Stevenson, Jack Gafford, Mr. Bowditch, Lani Lancaster, Willie Allen, and many many others. The people, not the bricks and mortar make an instution. I worked with over 4,000 boys during my career. While the economic and social comditions are worse now for our youth, the state is always ready and willing to line the pockets of contractors to build "state of the art" buildings insead of funding budgets for the staff that treat these children.
jlp

Knightdale, NC

#7 Aug 4, 2011
JEC Alumni wrote:
We worked with over 300 kids on a old military hospital campus with dorm style barracks. We demanded and got respect from the children. We were fair and loved the work we did.
I was one of those children in 1978. I was there when it was still the old army hospital bldgs. Im almost wondering if closing the old clapboard army bldgs and building the more traditional , enclosed school bldg was the beginning of the end- there's a lot to be said for having to move outdoors between classes...small clapboard bldgs with lots of open windows...etc... In a sterile, traditional school-like environment with all that artificial lighting...behaviors can spiral downward quickly - but I digress!

Back when I was at JEC, there were a few bad apples, but the vast majority of the staff were kind yet firm (and believe me- firmness was needed with some of the inmates.)Many of those kids had never been treated respectfully their whole lives until that point.
There was a mix of violent offenders and those who (like me) were in because there were no foster care or group home placements available for teens. It was not an easy place to be ... probably easier for us girls than the boys.But the counselors were like parents to us in a way, and made a frightening place bearable. I felt respected and cared for while there. But the same year I was there a beloved male counselor was killed by two boys as they tried to escape. even that horrible incident did not cause the staff to be less giving and present for the rest of us kids there. I *never* felt frightened or endangered by a staff member...sometimes by one of the inmates... but never a staff member. That's not the case nowdays from what Im reading.
Another JEC Alumni

Charlotte, NC

#8 Oct 4, 2011
I was at JEC in 1978 and the staff was group. The counselors in the cottages were wonderful. They never treated us like throw away trash. They did treat us with respect and helped to teach us to respect others. The lesson I learned there have helped me to be a productive part of society, as well as a good mother. I was pregnant when I was there. I can't remember the ladies that worked in the Fyre Cottage where I was, but they were great, I will tell you that
one more ex delinquent

Chesterfield, VA

#9 Dec 15, 2011
So they shut down the jec? I was there fir 1 and a half years and released in '99. I designed and built a golf course on a big open plot. I was trying to see if it was still there using Google map. And a lot of stuff just looked odd and no golf course.
The only name I'm remembering is Mr. Buchanan. He was the principal I think. they did have a pretty good staff there. And I wish I could contact some of the old teachers especially. If I remembered there Damn names......
one more ex delinquent

Chesterfield, VA

#10 Dec 15, 2011
one more ex delinquent wrote:
So they shut down the jec? I was there fir 1 and a half years and released in '99. I designed and built a golf course on a big open plot. I was trying to see if it was still there using Google map. And a lot of stuff just looked odd and no golf course.
The only name I'm remembering is Mr. Buchanan. He was the principal I think. they did have a pretty good staff there. And I wish I could contact some of the old teachers especially. If I remembered there Damn names......
Oh and forgot to say... the course I built was done during a horticulture class. Just so ppl done them I was building a delinquent spa with a 9 hole course or something.

“The end justifies the means”

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#11 Dec 25, 2011
Leave it to Buncombe Co.

“The end justifies the means”

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#12 Dec 27, 2011
These kids need something besides video games and drugs to occupy their time
ex JEC inmate

Holyoke, MA

#13 May 15, 2012
I was there from 1968-69. It was a nightmare. They put me on thorazine and two other drugs after I tried to run. Most of the kids were drugged, under the orders of a shrink named Newbold. The staff were intimidating and psychologically abusive. One social worker tried to be nice, but she was the only one and could only do so much. Most of the kids there were nonviolent social offenders: truants, pregnant, or petty thieves. The one thing that united them all was that their parents were poor and didn't give a damn about them. I'm still scarred from that year; it was a life-changing event and not a positive one. Today I teach at the college level and have a much better understanding of what I went through, but at bottom I still regard the time and the place as barbaric and savage.

I'd love to hear from anyone who was there during that year, from July '68 to July '69.
alisha pierce

United States

#14 Aug 8, 2012
I was one of those kids. I was in there in the late 80's my experience there changed me for the rest of my life! Not for the good. I was abused by the system. The staff was trifflin. I saw girls hanging themselves cutting there wrist I was put in strait jackets for asking questions about my pionts. I was supposed to b there 3months end up bein there a year in a half. Staff was prejudice, rude, abusive. I had one staff member i kind of trust Mrs. Hooper
jackie thompson

Rockingham, NC

#16 Dec 16, 2012
alisha pierce wrote:
I was one of those kids. I was in there in the late 80's my experience there changed me for the rest of my life! Not for the good. I was abused by the system. The staff was trifflin. I saw girls hanging themselves cutting there wrist I was put in strait jackets for asking questions about my pionts. I was supposed to b there 3months end up bein there a year in a half. Staff was prejudice, rude, abusive. I had one staff member i kind of trust Mrs. Hooper
....i was there from 90 til almost 92 were you there then?
Tom

Lincoln, NE

#17 Apr 17, 2013
I was a Cottage Tech. at J.E.C for 8 years and the place was always in the news for investigations of child abuse, rape, staff giving cigarretts to Students. Cover-ups from Mgmt. were weekly. Sweat would come down to investigate serious allegations & we were all warned to make the problems go away. I concede most of my partners slept at night or left campus for burgers& watched out for Ron Lytle, Lani Lancaster, or Sweat Himself. We had a case of Drunken Top Mgmt. being out on a run watch (students escaping) with a gun in their car ordering myself & another staff to race crazily after the runaways ,while He passed out in the back seat. The entire State Govt.knew about this & I still have a copy of the entire incident. It was The joke of the State Criminal Justice program.
TheInformer

Lincoln, NE

#18 Apr 22, 2013
Yes, Leave it to Buncombe County, especially the Mickey Mouse Sheriff Department and Bobby Medford's inept replacement. They're arresting as if there's a daily quota. His inept policies are so typical of the reputation Buncombe County has earned Nationwide this past 8 years, especially this past 6 years. They surely desperately need a new Sheriff & intelligent (not good old boys)investigators/ detectives to win back any remnant of proper Criminal Justice.
Paul

Lenoir, NC

#19 May 27, 2013
JEC Alumni wrote:
As a former employee of the Juvenile Evaluation Center, I have seen it go from a program that was top program, not only in the State, but in the whole Country. The JEC was looked on far and wide as a program that worked with and cared for the youth that were sent there- boys and girls. We dealt with some very aggressive and dangerous kids and lost good staff due to injuries and even death. We worked with over 300 kids on a old military hospital campus with dorm style barracks. We demanded and got respect from the children. We were fair and loved the work we did. Only in these last few years under the Sweatt administration has JEC gone to hell. Sweatt did not care about who was hurt out there- kid or staff. He never visited or supported his staff. I do believe that his overall plan was to close JEC out of spite to the Buncombe County officials too. There are a lot of needy children- troubled and dangerous- in our part of the State too and we need somewhere around here to work with them. Sweatt is gone now and now it's time for Governor Perdue and the new Secretary Hayes to step up and do the right thing. Get the juvenile program back on track and build somewhere quickly around here to help our kids.
jec alumni....please, were you there during the years 1966-67? If so please respond.
Paul

Lenoir, NC

#20 May 27, 2013
Tom wrote:
I was a Cottage Tech. at J.E.C for 8 years and the place was always in the news for investigations of child abuse, rape, staff giving cigarretts to Students. Cover-ups from Mgmt. were weekly. Sweat would come down to investigate serious allegations & we were all warned to make the problems go away. I concede most of my partners slept at night or left campus for burgers& watched out for Ron Lytle, Lani Lancaster, or Sweat Himself. We had a case of Drunken Top Mgmt. being out on a run watch (students escaping) with a gun in their car ordering myself & another staff to race crazily after the runaways ,while He passed out in the back seat. The entire State Govt.knew about this & I still have a copy of the entire incident. It was The joke of the State Criminal Justice program.
Tom, if you were there 1966-67 please respond. Please.
Paul

Lenoir, NC

#21 May 27, 2013
ex JEC inmate wrote:
I was there from 1968-69. It was a nightmare. They put me on thorazine and two other drugs after I tried to run. Most of the kids were drugged, under the orders of a shrink named Newbold. The staff were intimidating and psychologically abusive. One social worker tried to be nice, but she was the only one and could only do so much. Most of the kids there were nonviolent social offenders: truants, pregnant, or petty thieves. The one thing that united them all was that their parents were poor and didn't give a damn about them. I'm still scarred from that year; it was a life-changing event and not a positive one. Today I teach at the college level and have a much better understanding of what I went through, but at bottom I still regard the time and the place as barbaric and savage.
I'd love to hear from anyone who was there during that year, from July '68 to July '69.
ex jec...I was there about a year and a half, from I think aug 1966 till dec 1967. Please respond to me.

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