How many scathing grand jury reports will it take to prod Lauderdale County officials to action on this county’s disgraceful juvenile detention center?

A March grand jury concluded the same thing grand jurors have been saying for the better part of a decade: The facility is unsafe and should be either repaired or replaced. A previous grand jury deemed the center a “kennel,” and that description is not stretching the point.

County supervisors cite a lack of funding for their inaction on the juvenile center over the years. Indeed, the problem is an expensive one to fix: A new detention center would cost taxpayers $5 million to $6 million, according to Supervisor Joe Norwood.

A question supervisors must ask themselves, however, is the potential cost of further delays. In today’s litigious society, the current juvenile center is a lawsuit magnet. A successful class-action lawsuit against the county would likely cost taxpayers much more than a new or renovated juvenile center.

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