Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Facility Groundbreaking
WAXAHACHIE – Last Friday Ellis County’s new Juvenile Justice Alternative Education facility groundbreaking took place in Waxahachie.
Among the school ISDs in attendance was Midlothian ISD Assistant Superintendent Kay Lynn Day.
Day, along with Italy and Ennis ISD Superintendents spoke briefly at the groundbreaking, which was helmed by Ellis County Judge Todd Little.
“We are excited about the partnership with the county and the Ellis county school districts,” Day said after the event.
Others in attendance included Ellis County Judge Bob Carroll, Ellis County Commissioner Lane Grayson, law enforcement personnel including Ellis County Sheriff Brad Norman, and additional city employees and guests.
Any county in Texas over 120,000 is required by the state to implement a JJAEP program. Currently, if a person is not the age of 18 and commits a misdemeanor or felony offense they can be put in prison. When this facility is complete, those under the age of 18 will go into the juvenile justice alternative detention program instead.
“Ellis County had a specific exemption that since we are not 180,000 we were exempted from providing a JJAEP and that occurred back in 2001, but we are fully expecting that come October when we get the census results we are going to be well over 180,000,” Little said. “So two years ago we began this planning process for the JJAEP program.”
Administrator Darrin Robinson
At the groundbreaking, Little introduced the incoming JJAEP Administrator Darrin Robinson.
Robinson, who graduated from Ennis High School with honors and graduated from UTA has been at this kind of work for the past 16 years and began with Child Protective Services.
He said he believes this is the place for him because he understands these kids from personal experience.
“Whatever reason God put his hand on my life and I have never been incarcerated before,” Robinson said. “I know the trauma, I know the tragedy and I know what families go through and what parents go through with no understanding of how to help.”
This facility is the first juvenile justice program in the county. Robinson will operate like the superintendent of a school and there will be a capacity of 48 students and two-and-a-half teachers.
The facility will open its doors in September.
“We have worked on this project for three years to serve as an additional resource,” Day concluded.