In 1984 Horace Groff, Grayson County Judge, initiated an effort to develop a regional juvenile detention center. The concept was unique in its approach in that only larger counties had detention centers and no county in the State had a facility owned and operated by multi-counties. County Judges Bill Terry, Fannin, and Jim Robertson, Cooke, joined Judge Groff in an effort to develop a facility that would serve Texoma children and be available to the region.
In January 1985 the Cooke, Fannin and Grayson County Juvenile Detention Center opened on the grounds of the vacated Perrin Air Base. The 30-bed facility is fiscally the responsibility of the three county commissioner courts. Each court appoints representatives to the seven member administrative board. Currently, Grayson County Commissioner David Whitlock serves as chairman. Other members include:
- Bart Lawrence – Grayson County Commissioner Court
- Honorable Jim Fallon – 15th District Court
- Stan Barker – Fannin County Commissioners Court
- Leon Klement – Cooke County Commissioner Court
- Gary Hollowell – Cooke County Commissioner Court
- Gary Whitlock – Fannin County Commissioner Court
The detention center is a twenty-four hour secure facility for the temporary detention of juveniles for law violations, pending juvenile court, placement in a residential facility or transport to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. The detention center contracts with four (4) county juvenile probation departments and has served over 10,000 children since 1985. The goal of the center is to provide a short term safe and secure environment for the child and provide safety for the community.
The detention center staff consists of the Deputy Director, three Shift Supervisors and 14 Detention Officers. Each detention center staff is a certified detention officer with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and must undergo 80 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain their certification.
When a child is admitted to the facility they are screened for identification, medical, emotional, and mental health needs. All children that are admitted are required to wear a detention uniform and are assigned to sleep in individual rooms. Residents are visually monitored 24 hours a day for their safety and the safety of the community.
The detention center program is based on a level system that promotes a structured environment that supports both rewards for good behavior and loss of privileges for negative behavior. All children admitted to the detention center follow a structured daily program. During the course of a week after school programs include 2 classes in “Strategies for Anger Management”, 4 classes in “Self Esteem and Life Skills” and 2 classes in arts and crafts which are facilitated by our detention officers. These programs are increased for the kids during the summer months. The department also provides a substance abuse education program once a week that is facilitated by a Licensed Professional Counselor. During the course of the day residents are also provided a structured recreation time that includes activities either inside the facility or in the outside recreation area.
The Sherman Independent School District provides a full time teacher and assistant teacher to aid children in their studies. The school teacher evaluates the child when admitted into the school program; the child is then placed in an appropriate education curriculum based on the evaluation.
The child is provided 3 meals a day and a snack in the evening time. The food service staff is governed by the Grayson County Health Department and meets dietary guidelines under the Department of Human Resources.
The detention center provides additional services to all children on a case by case need which includes but is not limited to; individual counseling, group counseling, medical and dental assessments and professional care, optometrist care, drug and alcohol assessment, psychological assessment and care and access to a mental health professional. These additional services can be requested by the child, parent, JDC staff or probation officer.
We encourage communication between the child and their family. The parent or legal guardian is to contact the child’s probation officer or the juvenile detention center regarding department policy concerning mail, phone and visitation. The information will include days and times of visitations, phone calls and required documents such as photo identification.