Last young inmates leave closing state facility

PIKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The last three inmates have been transferred from the Taft Youth Center.

For nearly 95 years, the facility in Pikeville has housed the most troubled youth under state care. It had been operated by the Department of Children's Services. On Friday, the facility will be taken over by the Tennessee Department of Correction.

DCS spokeswoman Molly Sudderth told the Chattanooga Times Free Press Wednesday that 43 students had been dispersed among the three remaining state youth centers while another 40 were released under court orders, served their sentences, sent to facilities in or near the county where they are to stand trial, or turned 19.

Sequatchie County Juvenile Court Judge Tommy Austin said closing Taft was a bad idea. The state maintains the move will save $8.5 million annually.

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