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Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility Opened Sept. 26
First facility to offer peninsula area local
juvenile detention & probation services


September 27, 2003
Saturday - 12:30 am

The Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services (DHSS) and DHSS Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) hosted dedication and opening ceremonies Friday for the new Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility in Kenai. The $4.6 million building and complex is the first youth corrections facility on the Kenai Peninsula. Prior to its construction, all Peninsula youth offenders were transported and detained at the McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage. "This youth facility will fill a gap in our juvenile justice system on the Kenai Peninsula and enable State and local public safety and juvenile probation officers to be more efficient," Lt. Governor Loren Leman said. "It will also enable youth to be closer to home as they prepare to reenter society as law-abiding citizens."

Leman said, "Juveniles who come here are at a point in life where they need us the most. This place is here to do more than administer discipline -- as important as that is. It also provides hope. Hope to leave a destructive lifestyle and become a productive citizen. It will provide education to suspended or expelled students, supervise drug treatment and rehabilitation and offer counseling."

"I hope that we can challenge the juvenile residents not only to quit breaking the law, but to make good life choices, reach higher, dream bigger -- get educated and reinvest in Alaska. I am thankful the staff and supporters of the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility will be right here every step of the way as an encouragement to these youth as they transition back into our communities, " said Leman.

"I thank everyone on the Peninsula for the great community support for this facility," said DHSS Commissioner Joel Gilbertson. "I especially thank the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility Citizens Advisory Group chaired by Pete Sprague for their tireless work in supporting this project. Without broad support like this, this facility would never have happened."

"Transporting Peninsula youth offenders to McLaughlin Youth Center was a great expense in time and money to local area police and to the Div. of Juvenile Justice," Patty Ware, DJJ Director said. "The population on the Kenai Peninsula is growing, and there clearly was a need for a juvenile detention facility here. I'm glad we were able to help bring this project to fruition." During the dedication ceremonies, Ware presented certificates to about 2 dozen individuals and organizations who helped on the project.

During dedication ceremonies, Gilbertson acknowledged the City of Kenai's donation of land to build the facility. "I thank Mayor John Williams, the Kenai City Assembly, and the entire city of Kenai for donating 10 acres of prime land to build this facility on," he said.


Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility (KPYF) Fact Sheet

  • In 1997, the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services issued the Master Plan for Youth Facilities. The plan called for the construction of a new facility on the Kenai Peninsula.
  • Area residents have actively advocated the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility since 1998. The "Juvenile Detention Facility Committee" met monthly and the consortium consisted of individuals from various peninsula law enforcement agencies, juvenile probation, social services, mental health, substance abuse treatment services, educators, Alaska Native social services, and numerous private citizens from throughout the peninsula.
  • The facility planning committee worked closely with public officials and the state administration, selected a site, and built solid support and public awareness of the project for over three years.
    The project was designed by ECI/Hyer, Inc. of Anchorage.
  • On February 12, 2001, G & S Construction of Soldotna was awarded the contract to build the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility. The ten-bed detention facility was built for the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) on Marathon Road in Kenai. Major sub-contractors included Air Tek, Western Sheet Metal, and Redoubt Plumbing.
  • Groundbreaking for the new facility occurred on May 31, 2002.
  • The 12,000 square foot Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility combines Juvenile Detention and Juvenile Probation under one roof.
  • KPYF provides a central booking area for juveniles on the Kenai Peninsula, facilitating a rapid response to delinquent activity and enabling Police officers to quickly return to the street. It will foster a closer working relationship among State, local, nonprofit agencies and local schools.
  • KPYF contains office and interview space for Juvenile Probation operations, enabling more consistent and effective intervention practices.
  • KPYF enables the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to provide on-site continuing education of all juveniles detained for any length of time, which can reduce the likelihood of future criminal conduct and social dependency. Space is also available for suspended or expelled students who require educational services.
  • Bringing this facility to the Kenai Peninsula fills a Peninsula-wide void in the Juvenile Justice system by providing a centralized "headquarters" for the various local interdisciplinary agencies, and a focus on rehabilitative and re-integrative programmatic links within the peninsula communities.
  • KPYF is a ten-bed facility that will provide secure detention services for youth arrested for serious offenses throughout the Kenai Peninsula. KPYF also provides a Re-entry transition program for youth completing secure treatment at another DJJ facility as they return to the Peninsula and transition to their home communities.


Sources of News Release:

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services
Web Site

Office of the Lt. Governor
Web Site


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