COAL TOWNSHIP — While the new Northumberland County Prison awaits the pouring of its concrete floor, a youth detention center is set to begin operations nearby in less than a month.
On Oct. 1, TrueCore Behavior Solutions, based in Tampa, Florida, will open a 32-bed treatment program for boys ages 13 to 19 in three buildings on the campus of the Northumberland County Prison.
TrueCore began work on three buildings situated along the entry road to the prison after signing a two-year, $560,000 lease with the county in June. These three buildings formerly housed the Building Bridges program at Northwestern Academy and have dormitory-style housing in two buildings with no cells or bars. A third building holds administrative, classroom and other facilities.
According to a statement by the Florida-based company, the facility in Coal Township will be “an intensive residential program providing mental health and substance abuse treatment services for at-risk youth.” Youth will be placed at the facility on referral by Pennsylvania juvenile probation departments and children and youth agencies.
Commissioner Sam Schiccatano emphasized at a prison board meeting last week that the facility will not be high security like parts of Northwestern Academy were. Two other buildings at Northwestern had cell-style housing for juveniles, but these facilities are slated to become the new adult prison and a detox center.
In operating the Coal Township Youth Academy, TrueCore officials said they use a positive strength-based approach in conjunction with evidenced-based interventions to help youth reintegrate into the community. The treatment services are developed to address youths’ individualized needs to ensure that the clinical and delinquency interventions provided are designed to match a person’s “specific criminogenic needs.”
TrueCore said it will incorporate a thorough assessment process tomeasure progress, risks and needs. The first of its kind in Pennsylvania, TrueCore’s assessment tool allows every youth to be assessed within 30 days of admission, every 90 days, and prior to release, the company said in the statement.
“The Coal Township Youth Academy will provide a Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) victim impact and empathy-building curriculum, which has been proven to decrease risk factors and will be provided to all youth admitted to the program,” TrueCore officials said.
“Guided by our expertise and history in rehabilitating at-risk youth, TrueCore commits to provide quality level of care that will uphold Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy (JJSES),” said Martin Favis, president and chief executive officer of TrueCore.
“We are excited to extend our evidence-based services to at-risk youth in Pennsylvania and help in reducing the risk of future delinquent behavior; hold youth accountable, while providing them the skills and competencies needed to be successful; and protect communities,” Favis added.
Favis said Tom Bogovich, a Mount Carmel area resident who was named TrueCore’s Pennsylvania State Director and facility administrator, will lead the Coal Township facility. Bogovich boasts more than 25 years of experience in juvenile justice and human services in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors in the Northeast, Favis said.
According to its statement, TrueCore Behavioral Solutions is one of the largest juvenile justice providers in the United States. It currently serves more than 1,500 young men and women each day and employ more than 1,900 staff, operating over 30 juvenile residential programs in Florida, Tennessee, and Texas. Additionally, TrueCore provides a range of services and support, including alternative education schools and programs for vocational training, substance abuse recovery, behavioral and mental health, and sexual offender treatment.