Wayne County ends health emergency at Juvenile Detention Facility after overcrowding

County says it has doubled the space where youths are residing

Wayne County has lifted the public health emergency that was triggered at the Juvenile Detention Facility due to overcrowding and a lack of staffing earlier this year.

Wayne County says it has since reduced the population from 134 youths to 113, and was as low as 105 prior to the “seasonal increase” in intakes, according to the county. The county says it worked with the Third Circuit Court and the state of Michigan to address urgent needs at the JDF, and as a result, the March emergency was able to be lifted.

Wayne County has also raised wages by 35% across the board, allowing the addition of 54 staff members since the emergency was first declared in March, with an additional 60 position open.

The county says it has doubled the space where youths are residing, dropping the number of youths per housing pod from 50 to 20.

Wayne County executive Warren Evans declared the emergency in his State of the County address in March.

“This has been an entire County effort. Ensuring the safety of both staff and youth at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility has always been the goal. But that also means thinking broadly about their wellbeing—about making sure the youth get the help they desperately need,” Evans stated. “We’re now working collaboratively with partners on the local and state levels so that we can move toward reform and transformation.”

“We’ve used this emergency to answer two key questions: how do we best protect and provide for the youths under our care, and how do we make sure their time at JDF helps them in their long-term rehabilitation,” said Dr. Abdul El Sayed, Director Wayne County Department of Health, Human and Veterans Services. “While there’s a lot more to improve and build upon, we feel that the work we’ve done during the emergency has provided a solid foundation for that work.”

In addition to space and staffing, the county has also created new resources dedicated to mental health treatment, in partnership with Team Wellness, starting in June.

---> Previous coverage: New allegations of overcrowding, unsafe conditions at Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility

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Ken Haddad has proudly been with WDIV/ClickOnDetroit since 2013. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters, and helps lead the WDIV Insider team. He's a big sports fan and is constantly sipping Lions Kool-Aid.