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MailTribune.com
  • Two teen runaways apprehended shortly after fleeing from program

  • Two teens from the Jackson County Juvenile Services Center's residential program broke out a window and ran away Wednesday night, but police apprehended them in 22 minutes.
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  • Two teens from the Jackson County Juvenile Services Center's residential program broke out a window and ran away Wednesday night, but police apprehended them in 22 minutes.
    Both teens were located at a vacant home in the 400 block of Oak Street at 11:29 p.m.
    Geoffrey Buckalew, 18, is being held in the Jackson County Jail on $5,000 bail for criminal mischief charges. A 15-year-old male is lodged at the juvenile detention center.
    "Both of them will have new law violations," said Joe Ferguson, Juvenile Services deputy director.
    Juvenile Justice officials estimate the window will cost $1,200 to repair. They don't have a cost estimate for a roof awning that was also damaged.
    Juvenile Department officials said the residential program is not a secure detention center and that the juveniles did not break out. Youth under court jurisdiction or on probation can voluntarily commit to placement in the residential program. It gives young offenders have had issues while on probation an option to stay in the community.
    "It's their choice, but it's also part of a menu we're giving them," Ferguson said, adding the other option would be commitment to the Oregon Youth Authority. "We've developed this program as kind of an interim."
    Teens in the program go on regular community outings, participate in activities and can visit with their families for the day, or even overnight. Program participants can elect to leave the program. A release plan is drafted after the decision, and their probation officer is notified. The voluntary termination could result in them being sent to OYA.
    "If they no longer want to be in the program, basically what they do is have to give a 72-hour notice," Ferguson said. "It's still a probation violation if they don't complete or aren't compliant in the program."
    A similar incident happened in October 2012, when three boys smashed out a second-story window and tied sheets together to climb down. They were eventually caught, too. Ferguson said the event didn't change how the facility does business.
    "We really didn't put any new procedures in place because we felt we had pretty good procedures," Ferguson said.
    — Ryan Pfeil
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