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Examiner
  • McCune to close at end of year

  • The McCune Residential Center, a fixture in Eastern Jackson County for more than a century, will close at the end of the year.



    “It was a very, very hard decison,” said Judge Charles E. Atwell, presiding judge of the 16th Judicial Court Court, which announced the decision Tuesday.

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  • The McCune Residential Center, a fixture in Eastern Jackson County for more than a century, will close at the end of the year.
    “It was a very, very hard decison,” said Judge Charles E. Atwell, presiding judge of the 16th Judicial Court Court, which announced the decision Tuesday.
    The facility off U.S. 24 in northeast Independence was once called the McCune School for Boys. It opened in 1909. It serves boys aged 13 to 17 who get into trouble with the law. The court said services will be consolidated with the Hilltop Residential Center south of Lakewood.
    In June 2006, there were 61 boys at McCune. Since then, the Family Court has undertaken the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, looking at other practices and community settings by which boys can be steered in the right direction. Also, Atwell said, overall delinquency in the county is down. That’s brought McCune down to 20 residents today.
    At the end of the year, some of those 20 will have completed their programs, and the rest will go before a judge to see where they are assigned next. Atwell said he expects that most of the boys who normally would have been sent to McCune wouldn’t be sent to Hilltop but would instead be turned over to the state Division of Youth Services, which has facilities outside Jackson County.
    “We’re blessed with the fact that DYS is a very progressive organization, but there are only so many beds,” he said.
    His fear, he said, is that more boys will end up in the state’s criminal-justice and ultimately end up in prison.
    Atwell stressed that McCune has done a lot of good for a lot of boys over the years.
    “There’s no question about it,” he said.
    McCune is old, and judges had looked at a smaller secure facility within the county, meaning families could more easily have contact with their boys, but the administration of Jackson County wouldn’t back that idea given the county’s overall financial situation. That includes cuts in state funding that are expected to bring layoffs in the Assessment Department and the prosecutor’s office at end of the year.
    McCune has 44 employees, and so far other positions have been found for all but about 15. Officials hope that early-retirement incentives might help prevent the need for any layoffs.
     
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