Ribbon cut on new juvenile detention facility in Philadelphia

The former Youth Study Center in Philadelphia will soon have a new name, new location and a new building.The Juvenile Justice Service Center at 48th Street and Haverford Avenue cost more than $100 million. It features a state-of-the-art gym, running track and gardening area among other amenities.

It’s designed to do more than just hold those youth accused of crimes, says executive director Marq Temple.

“Our kids deserve the best. Even though they get in trouble, we are trying to help them get better,” Temple said Thursday. “You can’t put them on the right track putting them into some rundown place.”

The facility replaces the old Youth Study Center, which was torn down to make way for the new Barnes Foundation Galleries on the Parkway.

Holding signs calling for more schools, and not jails, Michael Tabon and others protested the opening of the Juvenile Justice Center Thursday.

“I’m trying to figure out why you have the money to build a brand new study center for kids that do something wrong but you got a kid right on Haverford Avenue who did nothing wrong but he needs a new study center, ” Tabon said. “Why he have to commit a crime to benefit from a new school?”

Judge Kevin Dougherty, head of Philadelphia Family Court, responded that he hopes there is a day when the facility isn’t needed. For now, he said, it is.

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