The Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center is a 90-bed juvenile detention center located in Caldwell, Idaho, about 30 miles west of Boise. The center opened with 20 beds on March 2, 1992, with Robert L. Bigelow as Director, Dan Kessler as Trial Court Administrator and Judge Jim. R. Doolittle as Administrative Judge. On March 1, 1993, Steven G. Jett took over as Director.
The center houses juveniles from five of the southwest Idaho counties that make up the 3rd Judicial District, specifically, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington.
On May 26, 1998, Canyon County voters approved a $3.7 million dollar expansion project which increased the number of beds to 90 to better serve the district. Construction started in May, 1999, ran past the original deadline of March/April of 2000, and was 'completed' in September, 2000.
In October 1994, the center instituted a level system to help teach accountability and responsibility to those in custody. The result has been a marked decrease in violent incidents and disciplinary lockdowns, and an increase in the morale of the juveniles and staff.
In December, 1999, our "writer in residence" program started, with writer Dawn Ludwin instructing. The classes are held twice each week in conjunction with our regular school hours. Feedback has been very positive. We appreciate the help that we receive from the Log Cabin Literary Center. In September 2004, Paul Berg took over instructing the program.
On November 22, 2000, the graduation ceremony was held for the first Juvenile Detention Officer Training Academy, held at the Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training Center (P.O.S.T.) at Meridian, Idaho. Special thanks to Roch Clapp of the Department of Juvenile Corrections, Mike Becar and Debbie Kindelberger of P.O.S.T. and the Idaho Juvenile Training Council chaired by Commissioner V. Hoybjerg for their hard work and efforts in setting up the academy.
Pictured below are 4 of SWIJDC's first P.O.S.T. Instructors, Mike Geselle, Chelle Mills, Shawn Anderson and Steve Jett. Other instructors presently include Larry Benjamin, Sean Brown.
In December, 2000, Supervisor Tim Aguirre started the "Hat Project" in the Center. Working one on one with the juveniles, he and his team used a simple pattern and started cranking out hats to donate to local hospital maternity units for the newborns to wear. On March 23, 2001, we were able to donate approximately 50 hats to the Mercy Medical Center in Nampa, Idaho. For a look at the article that appeared in the Idaho Statesman on March 24, 2001, please click here. Due to several issues, the Hat Project isn't running at the present time.
In April, 2002, the Scroll Saw Project was started by Glen Diers and Marilee Davis. Please check out the pictures of the project. The Project was featured in the September 10, 2002 Idaho Press Tribune for donating numerous articles to the Caldwell School District and the Idaho Juvenile Justice Association. For a look at the article, please click here. Glen transferred to Oklahoma in 2004, and the Scroll Saw Project hasn't been in operation since that time.
On September 24, 2003 Glen was chosen as the Idaho Juvenile Justice Association's District 3 Line Worker of the Year. Glen was presented his plaque by Julie Yamamoto, Caldwell Alternative School Principal, and Steve Jett. (see below)
Steve, Glen and Julie Yamamoto
On December 19, 2003, the juveniles were given Christmas treats donated by the Matterhorn Ice Cream Company. We appreciate their generosity. The kids sure enjoyed the "Big Ed's Super Saucers"!
On December 19, 2003, Albert Erickson, now Chief of Police for Parma, Idaho, spoke to the juveniles about his experiences in Kuwait. Albert had recently returned from Kuwait where he served as Operations Superintendent at Al-Jaber Air Base.
On February 8, 2004, the Idaho Press Tribune ran a story on the Center's Education program. To see article, click here.
In June, 2004, Taga Bah, certified through the Cooper Institute, was appointed to lead the Phys Ed program in the Center. The SWIJDC has instituted physical requirements for any staff hired after May, 2005 with Taga's help.
On March 27, 2005, it was announced by the Idaho Press Tribune that a juvenile in the center had won the Silver Quill Award for a letter he wrote praising the Center's juvenile detention officers and teachers. Click here to read award article!
The best tools that we have for rehabilitation include mentoring and establishing good relationships with the juveniles committed to our custody.
CPR class July 29, 2004