Questions Surround Rader Center

The L.E. Rader Center is currently the only maximum security facility in the state that houses juvenile offenders. Recently the question of whether the L.E. Rader Center will continue operations has been raised by the state Office of Juvenile Affairs.

In an article published recently in The Oklahoman, OJA Director Gene Christian announced he is planning a charter school academy as well as his interest in building a new high-security institution for those juveniles at the L.E. Rader Center in need of a maximum security facility.

These two facilities have been proposed since operational costs at the L.E. Rader Center have increased due to design, function, and legal problems. In the article he stated: “We have to be somewhere we’re wanted,” indicating the City of Sand Springs is not showing signs of interest in renovating the current facility.

OJA has now put out a request for information (RFI) to potential bidders for the cost to construct/renovate a structure to be used as a maximum security juvenile facility as well as the costs to staff and maintain such a facility.

OPEA members employed at the L.E. Rader Center will be continuing their efforts to ensure the future of the center and their jobs by addressing the Sand Springs City Council April 12th, to determine whether it is their intention to fund the renovation of the current center. If the City of Sand Springs has no intention of this, OPEA will be contributing in the effort to find a community to support the construction of a new maximum security facility in the Tulsa area.

The importance of Oklahoma having an operative maximum security facility is immeasurable, OPEA leaders say. Recently at OPEA Lobby Day OPEA members from child welfare as well as the L.E. Rader Center discussed this importance with their legislators. “Child Welfare workers depend on Rader Center employees in instances where no other facilities are capable or willing of housing severely troubled youth who may pose a danger in Oklahoma communities,” said child welfare worker Liz Whittington.

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