County to consider reopening building
Georgia closed down youth detention center

CONYERS - The state closed down the Rockdale-DeKalb Probation Detention Center last week, but Rockdale County is considering reopening the facility as a work camp or a youth detention site.

The center was one of seven diversion centers closed last week by the Georgia Department of Corrections. The DOC also announced that the last operating boot camp for young nonviolent offenders in Haralson County will close within the next three or four months.

State corrections officials pointed to lost funding from the General Assembly as the reason it had to close the facilities.

The detention center in Rockdale County was located adjacent to the Rockdale County Jail on Chambers Road and had about 100 beds. The center was a place for work-release inmates, where offenders were released to work jobs during the day and then return to the center at night.

Rockdale County Board of Commissioners Roy Middlebrooks said the county government will feel the loss of the state-run facility, although the impact won't be significant. The county used six offenders a day from the Detention Center for custodial and maintenance work. The work was done for the county at no charge.

"We're going to have to go back and rearrange our regular staff to get the work covered," he said.

As for the building, Middlebrooks said there is some interest in using it possibly for a youth detention center or as a work camp for county jail inmates.

Middlebrooks said Rockdale County gave the land to the state when the center was constructed. He said county commissioners and attorneys will look at the original agreement with the state to see if the property can be reverted back to the county.

"We'll take a look and see if the terms and conditions have a reversion clause to where the land goes back to us if it ceases to being used for purposes the state originally agreed to," Middlebrooks said.

Mallie McCord, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, said they are still in the process of clearing out the building and the DOC has not come to a decision on its future.

"We're working that out and cleaning the building," she said. "At one point we will assess our needs and determine what uses are available for the building."

McCord said the offenders housed there were moved to other facilities in the state.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.