ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) – A newly renovated youth facility center set to open April 25 in Rocky Mount hosted an open house ceremony Thursday with officials including Gov. Pat McCrory.
However, McCrory declined to answer questions about his executive order on House Bill 2 when questioned by a CBS North Carolina reporter. McCrory announced the order on Tuesday in a statement and video. On Wednesday, he introduced his nominee for SBI director but did not take reporters’ questions.
On Thursday, McCrory twice declined to discuss House Bill 2.
“Mental health and addiction for our young kids is such and important issue,” he said. “And we have to make sure these young kids are given a second chance and we help them return to society in a productive and meaningful way and safe way for the public. And that’s exactly where my focuses are on today and in the future.”
The 44-bedroom Edgecombe Youth Development Center will house youth who have been sentenced to these facilities for various offenses.
Officials said the building was a renovation project and was introduced to state officials in 2013. An additional 12 beds were added for $490,000, less than the cost of building a new facility.
McCrory was the guest speaker to a crowd of juvenile justice advocates and local politicians. He thanked the group for their dedicated service to the field and challenged them to continue to educate people about the problems facing North Carolina’s youth and the juvenile criminal justice system.
He promised to continue to fight for kids who he said may have lost their way due to substance abuse, mental illness or broken homes.
“I firmly believe that everyone deserves a chance to fulfill their potential, something that my parents instilled in me growing up,” said McCrory. “The reopening of this innovative youth development center will provide proven and cutting-edge education, treatment and mental health services to young people in our juvenile justice system based on their individual needs for a successful transition back in to our communities.”
Deputy Commissioner for Juvenile Justice, William Lassiter, said the center will drive down recidivism rates and takes on a therapeutic model.
This facility replaces an older facility, which required major upgrades and construction. Officials said the building will be filled to capacity by May 9.