IW, Franklin, Southampton and Suffolk enter second agreement to house juvenile detainees

Published 5:57 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Some children accused of crimes in Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, or the cities of Franklin and Suffolk, could find themselves incarcerated more than 100 miles away.

Chesapeake Juvenile services, which had previously housed the four localities’ juvenile detainees, ceased accepting non-Chesapeake inmates at the end of March.

In September, officials from the four localities signed an agreement with the Merrimac Juvenile Detention Center in Williamsburg guaranteeing the four a collective eight beds at Merrimac for the next three years.

Isle of Wight’s Board of Supervisors approved a second multi-locality agreement on Nov. 16 with the James River Juvenile Detention Center, located at the Powhatan-Goochland county border.

Per the terms of the agreement, Isle of Wight will act as the fiscal agent and will make quarterly payments to Henrico County, one of three Richmond suburbs that operates the center.

Based upon a three-year average spanning 2020 through 2022, Suffolk is allocated 575 beds, accounting for 78% of the four Tidewater localities’ collective share, at an annual cost of $476,226.

Franklin has the next highest allocation and cost, at 70 beds and $57,510 per year, accounting for 9.4% of the agreement.

Southampton is allocated 46 beds at $38,064 per year, accounting for 6.2%. Isle of Wight is allotted 45 beds at $37,224, accounting for 6.1%.

Under the October agreement with Merrimac, Suffolk is allotted an additional 6.26 beds at an annual cost of $664,441. Franklin is allotted 0.76 beds at $80,242. Southampton is allocated 0.5 beds at $53,104 and Isle of Wight is allotted 0.49 beds at $51,933.

Isle of Wight increased its general fund budget by just under $800,000 in September to account for the collective annual payments of the four localities to Merrimac. Isle of Wight’s supervisors voted unanimously on Nov. 16 to approve an additional $571,800 budget increase to account for the four localities’ shares of the James River agreement.

According to Isle of Wight County Administrator Randy Keaton, the reason Merrimac is costlier for far fewer beds is because the agreement includes transportation costs, while the agreement with James River does not.