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Swecker amendment to protect Green Hill and Maple Lane fails in Senate

Published on April 25, 2009

Sen. Dan Swecker’s, amendment to look at all Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) facilities for closure instead of only Green Hill and Maple Lane failed in the Senate this evening.

The Senate operating budget which passed this evening includes language instructing the JRA to establish a closure commission to look at only two facilities in the 20th District instead of the five facilities in the state. These two facilities specifically cited in the document are Green Hill and Maple Lane.

The amendment offered by Swecker, R-Rochester, instructed the commission to look at all facilities and determine the best cost-saving option. The amendment did not pass.

“Unfortunately, there are some members who are fixated at closing Green Hill. Even after Gov. Gregoire and the House of Representatives recommended keeping Green Hill open, some members continued to ignore those recommendations. While Green Hill stays open for now, my district stands to lose one of two important juvenile facilities.”

During his speech in support of the amendment, Swecker cited the difference in the type of offenders in the facilities. Maple Lane’s focus is on mental health issues, while Green Hill works to break the mentality of and the strangle hold of gangs.

“Combining these two could have catastrophic results,” Swecker said in support of the amendment.

“While I am happy Green Hill has not been given a closure date, I want people in Lewis and Thurston counties to understand the fight is not over. As the budget stands now, either Green Hill or Maple Lane will close. It would be devastating to the counties and to the state to close these facilities.”