Teens who ran away from juvenile center captured 22 minutes later

Two teenagers 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 found at a vacant home in the 400 block of Oak Street at 11:29 p.m.

Geoffrey Buckalew, 18, was being held in the Jackson County Jail on $5,000 bail on a charge of criminal mischief. A 15-year-old male was lodged in 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 also was damaged.

Officials said the residential program is not a secure detention center. Youths under court jurisdiction or on probation can voluntarily commit to placement in the residential program. It gives young offenders who 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. 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 the Oregon Youth Authority.

"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 eventually were 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.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email rpfeil@mailtribune.com.

Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.