POSTED: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 5:01pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 8:29am
SAN BENITO (KVEO NEWS CENTER 23) — Behavior is everything when it comes to being locked up, especially if you're a juvenile in the Darrell Hester Juvenile Center. CEO Tommy Ramirez explained that this particular center has one of the best programs in the country for juveniles who want to turn their lives around. And, it's all based on a behavioral merit system within the facility.
"They were thinking in terms of earning their merit dollars so they can earn their privileges and earn their way up the level system. So I think they were so engaged in that, I think they just didn't have enough time to think about being bad."
Of course, even with such systems in place, there are still some juveniles who continue to bend the rules and further test their luck. These people are then placed in what is known as "room confinement".
"There's a lot of factors that play into us making the decision, how long a kid would be in room confinement. Ultimately, the goal is to get them out of room confinement, back into the population, back into programming and being compliant with everything."
"This is Pod D, Cell D1 where Cameron County juveniles are sent when they commit a crime. They're held here in confinement until the judge rules otherwise."
Over the last ten years, Ramirez has incorporated The Boys and Girls Club of America into the juvenile detention center and says this positive reinforcement has had a great impact.
"It has worked extremely well, and uh, I think it's a win-win, not just for the staff and us, but for the kids also."
Reporting in San Benito, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.