Taft’s Low Recidivism Rate Cited by Supporters

Since state officials proposed cutting the Department of Children’s Services budget by closing Taft Youth Development Center, many have urged it remain open, saying that Taft works. Juvenile judges Howard Upchurch in Bledsoe County, Suzanne Bailey in Hamilton County, Jim McKenzie in Rhea County, Tommy Austin in Sequatchie County  and Sam Benningfield in Van Buren County all point to Taft’s low recidivism rate — 3 percent, compared to an average of 11 percent for the state’s other youth centers — and its successful GED program. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, says he hopes next week to introduce an amendment to Haslam’s TEAM bill — the Tennessee Excellence, Accountability, and Management Act of 2012 — to require DCS to maintain a youth development center in the state’s Eastern grand division. “Closing Taft is the wrong thing at the wrong time,” Cobb said. The Times Free Press has more.