Mayfield says ‘No’ to county juvenile detention center

Published 12:10 am Saturday, February 2, 2013

NATCHEZ — Several months after being offered the job and the possibility of a $20,000 raise, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield says he won’t be taking over the administration of the county juvenile detention center.

Mayfield said Friday that’s because being sheriff is a 24-7 job, and after thinking over and discussing the possibility of running youth corrections with his staff, he didn’t believe he or his office had the necessary resources to do all of those duties to the best of their abilities.

“When I sat back and looked at it, I didn’t feel like I would have the time to put on those job duties and still do justice to the job I was elected to do,” Mayfield said.

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The juvenile detention center is operated under the auspices of the Adams County Youth Court. After the youth detention center’s administrator, Glenn Arnold, retired, the county board of supervisors asked Mayfield and Youth Court Judge John Hudson to consider allowing the sheriff to run the facility in an effort to improve its overall efficiency.

Hudson said since the sheriff’s office has not opted to operate the juvenile detention center, the court has appointed Kevin Nations — a long-time deputy who has worked with the youth court system for many years — to serve as the center’s new administrator.

And that wouldn’t have been so different from what would have happened if the sheriff’s office had taken over — Nations was Mayfield’s pick for the administrator of day-to-day operations as well.

“(Nations) has been a tremendous asset to the court as the courtroom deputy, and we are going to miss him in the court, but we are going to put his talents where we think he can best serve the children of Natchez,” Hudson said.

The judge said Arnold would work with Nations as a consultant to help him take over operations.

Mayfield said the sheriff’s office has agreed to support Nations and the youth center in any way needed, and that the new administrator will remain as a non-paid reserve deputy.

“Kevin and I worked together in the youth court system for several years,” Mayfield said. “He has a good rapport with the youth, his heart is in that work and he has always impressed me that he is very calm and patient with them, and that is what you need with kids.”

In addition to housing youth offenders from Adams County, the detention center also hosts juveniles from other counties who are being detained by their local justice systems. The county is remunerated $100 a day per out-of-county inmate.

The Pike County Board of Supervisors recently voted to close its youth detention center and house all of its youth offenders in Adams County.

Federal law requires that youth detainees be kept in a facility that is out of sight and sound of adult inmates.