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Legislators Tour Greene County Juvenile Justice Center

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/legislator_1280.mp3

The Greene County Juvenile Justice Center pulled out all the stops Thursday in an attempt to increase its funding.

KSMU's Matt Petcoff has the story...

Greene County officials say the county's Juvenile Justice Center is too small and no longer equipped to handle the number of cases it sees each year.

Even with only half capacity of juveniles in detention, its facilities are stretched to the limits.

So, officials with the Justice Center invited state Representative Allen Icet, Chairman of the Missouri House Budget Committee, to tour the center.

Icet says he can tell the facility needs to be expanded.

A number of county and state officials joined Icet on the tour, including all three county commissioners and a number of state legislators.

Leading the tour was Perry Epperly, Family Court Administrator.

He says having lawmakers on his side helps their cause, but it's not all about money and new facilities... it's about serving the people in an appropriate fashion.

Epperly says the court handles about 28-hundred delinquent cases a year with another 700 abuse and neglect cases.

He says the one place where the tight confines are noticed the most is the court itself.

Officials say it's much too small to handle cases involving families, especially when tempers can rise during custody battles.