Scott County Sheriff calls for more beds at Iowa’s teen detention center in light of juvenile crime wave

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DAVENPORT, Iowa— The growing number of teens stealing cars and committing more violent crimes in Davenport has kept the Scott County Juvenile Detention Center busy all summer long.

Sheriff Tim Lane says that’s why he is reaching out to Iowa state legislators to open more beds for Scott County teens at the State Training School in Eldora, Iowa.

“When we are talking about juveniles that are committing violent crimes, they are shooting at people, they’re killing people. We need to look at it completely different,” says Sheriff Lane.

Jeremy Kaiser, director of Scott County’s Juvenile Detention Center says, this last wave of juvenile crime is the most dangerous he's seen in his eight-year tenure, calling out the same returning offenders committing the same crimes.

“We’re talking to them every day, we listen to their attitudes on their crime and how they feel about it. (We know) they’re going back to the community (and) they’re probably going to do the same thing again,” says Kaiser, which is why he agrees with the Sheriff’s efforts to get more beds in Eldora, so teens facing serious forcible felony, or substance abuse charges are kept away from first time offenders of minor crimes.

It’s also a chance for more violent teens to get access to resources that could help their rehabilitation.

“It’s highly structured. (The Iowa State Training School for Boys) has a lot of different programs and services that are available for the youth. I think people might think of a jail or a prison but it’s really not like that at all,” says Kaiser.

The training school can hold 130 beds, 13 of which are reserved for teens from the 7th Judicial District of Iowa, which includes Scott, Jackson, Cedar, Clinton and Muscatine County.

The school currently has 11 students from the 7th district, six of those students are from Scott County.

Kaiser says when the school fills up, Scott County teens on the waiting list stay in the Juvenile Detention Center until a bed is available which could take weeks.

Although the detention center doesn’t currently have teens waiting to be sent to Eldora, Kaiser says it’s only a matter of time before more teens start coming in.

Sheriff Tim Lane says, it’s too early to tell how much money is needed to open more space in Eldora, or how much space is needed. For the time being, the county has to deal with the space available.