Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New advisory board to monitor revamped Shuman Juvenile Detention Center

Zoe Fuller
/
90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato has announced new members for a panel to oversee the revamped Shuman Juvenile Detention Center, which is set to open sometime this month.

“Our goal with the new Shuman is to provide excellent staff and holistic services including mental health supports, workforce development, and educational opportunities,” Innamorato said in a statement. “Providing expertise and community input on the operations of Shuman are an important step to fulfilling that goal.”

The Juvenile Detention Board of Advisors will make recommendations regarding the center’s operations once it reopens: Despite ongoingdelays, officials estimate the first 12 beds will be ready in less than 30 days, with Latrobe-based nonprofit Adelphoi managing the facility.

Innamorato nominated Allegheny Court of Common Pleas Judge Tiffany E. Sizemore, Gwen’s Girls CEO Kathi Elliott, Reimagine Reentry executive director Richard Garland, FISA Foundation executive director Kristy Trautmann, and Mica Williams, a senior program manager at the Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities Center for Health and Justice.

All five must be confirmed by County Council.

President Judge Susan Evashavik appointed three citizen members: County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jennifer S. McCrady, Café Momentum executive director Cheyenne Tyler, and Dr. Edward Mulvey, a professor of psychiatry emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Innamorato and County Controller Corey O’Connor will round out the 10-person board.

“These appointments are the first step in ensuring that the new Shuman Center is supporting young people and setting them up to successfully reintegrate with their communities,” Innamorato’s statement said.

WESA Inbox Edition Newsletter

Start your morning with today's news on Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

The advisory board is responsible for an annual report recommending a budget for detention facility maintenance, but otherwise has no formal statutory authority. Officials said the board is meant to offer an additional level of community input for the facility, and help deliver on Innamorato’s promise to create a more rehabilitative detention center.

The Court of Common Pleas and state DHS have the statutory authority to intervene if Adelphoi were to mismanage the facility. A representative for the courts declined to comment about what that oversight might look like, citing pending litigation brought by County Council.

Though the board is required by state statute, it has been dormant since September 2021, when the facility shut down after the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services revoked its license to operate.

Since Shuman’s closure, some kids accused of crimes have been sent to facilities outside the county or housed at the Allegheny County Jail. According to county data, 21 minors are currently incarcerated at the jail.

“We are prepared to begin operations of Highland Detention at Shuman Center once we receive our license and anticipate that this will occur later this month,” Adelphoi CEO Nancy Kukovich said in an email. “We look forward to working with the county, court, and advisory board. Each advisory board member comes with a level of dedication and expertise that will be instrumental in providing the services that the courts and kids need from this detention program.”

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at jzenkevich@wesa.fm.