Arkansas Selects Private Firm to Run Youth Detention Centers

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Arkansas officials have selected a Nevada-based firm to run youth detention centers under a one-year, $15.8 million contract.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Rite of Passage has been selected to oversee juvenile lockups in Harrisburg, Lewisville, Dermott and Mansfield. The state Department of Human Services has been managing the facilities since 2017.

The company could take over responsibilities in May, pending protests from unsuccessful bidders.

Critics and federal investigators say the state’s facilities have faced a variety of problems over the past decade, such as sexual assault, substandard facilities and inadequate behavioral health treatment.

State officials say having a private company act as the single provider to the facilities will ensure consistent and quality treatment.

Rite of Passage currently operates the 120-bed Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center.

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