TYC to hold meeting over possible closure of Evins detention center

The Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg is under review by the Texas Youth Commission.

State budget cuts and a reduced youth population have forced the TYC to close up to 3 of its 10 facilities across the state.

Jim Hurley is public affairs director with the commission.

"As stewards of public money it certainly makes sense that we would close down facilities that we have because we simply because we don't need nor can we afford the capacity we have," Hurley said.

Built in 1990, the Evins center is the only southern facility and currently houses 103 inmates from San Antonio south.

It employs 261 people.

Whether it remains open will depend largely on results from public meetings held by the TYC in each town where there's a facility.

They want to know about the unique features of the facility and supportive community resources, what the agency would lose by a closure at that location, how it would impact the community and its expansion potential, according to Hurley.

"We have an improving culture, excellent education program and our scores are improving... so there are a lot of good things happening at the Evins facility," he said.

Evins has been at the center of controversy in years past.

The facility is currently under a 2008 agreement with the US Department of Justice over poor inmate safety.

A number of lawsuits have lead to parameters for staffing levels, restraints on youth and safer living conditions.

If Evins is closed, youth from the Valley would be shipped north, forcing parents of offenders to take costly travel to be a part of their child's rehabilitation program.

Hurley admits that parental involvement is a key component to a juvenile offender TMs ultimate success.

TYC representatives will be conducting the community meeting in Edinburg on Saturday, April 2nd from 10am to 12pm.

It will be held in the library auditorium at UTPA on 1201 West University Drive.

The TYC is urging anyone who may be affected by a potential closure at Evins to voice their concerns at the meeting.