Citing a lack of support and financial loss, the company that manages four state youth lockups, including one in Mansfield, says it won’t continue its contract past June 30th. State officials told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that they had expected to work with the company for six more years.
Youth Opportunities Investments, LLC, an Indiana company, sent a letter last week to state officials saying it wouldn’t seek to renew the one year, more than $15 million contract. Youth Opportunity manages four lockups in Arkansas, including the one in Mansfield.
Last June, Youth Opportunity sent a letter to the state saying that two dorms at Mansfield had deteriorated to the point they became inoperable which limited the program’s capacity. Those conditions consisted of plumbing problems, a failed air-conditioning unit, broken windows, a lack of locks, and two leaky water fountains. Youth Opportunity claimed that the physical improvements needed at the Mansfield facility cut back on bed space.
The State Department of Human Services hopes to find another company to operate the facilities and expects to make an announcement with more details on future plans later this week.