Local activist group speaks out against juvenile center

Kristin Kovalsky, copy editor

On Tuesday, April 13, Winona State University’s Student Senate held their weekly meeting via Zoom.

One group of guest speakers spoke at the meeting.

The guest speakers were Kara Eggers, Tova Strange and Wesley Holm who spoke on behalf of the organization, Winona Community Not Cages.

Their presentation was about the discussion of building a juvenile detention center.

Eggers, Strange and Holm presented an option opposing a juvenile detention center which would be creating a juvenile justice program.

Their presentation stated that the national trend is moving away from incarceration “towards an approach geared around public health and providing opportunities for rehabilitation.”

Winona State alum Wesley Holm said that having a juvenile detention center in Winona is not a solution to juvenile crime.

“Most juveniles that are put in detention centers will go on to serve jail/prison time when they reach adulthood. Not just does this damage the community, but it is expensive,” Holm said. “Focusing on a restorative justice system works to re-educate the juvenile, allow them to expand their learning to find work in their community, learn coping skills to manage their mental health, socialize them to be a beneficial member of their community.”

Holm said this is an issue that Winona State students should be concerned about.

“For starters, the students should care because it is coming out of their pockets. This detention center is being funded by tax dollars in Winona County. That means if a student works in the county and pays taxes then their tax money will be going towards this facility,” Holm said. “Winona County has been “shady” to say the least about how much this detention center would cost, but from our research most cost somewhere in the $5.5-6 million range.”

After their presentation, the student services committee had a committee recommendation.

The committee recommendation was to remove a few parking spots on the north side of Mark St. to make exiting the Minne parking lot (gold lot #3) safer for students.

The recommendation proposed that this be changed before the start of 2021-2022 academic year.

Katrina Pfaffenbach, college of science and engineering seat supported the motion.

“I supported the decreased parking on Mark street for both pedestrian and vehicle safety as that is a zone of decreased visibility and is prone to accidents. Parking along that street by the Minne lot exit results in decreased visibility, so removing those will be a safer choice,” Pfaffenbach said.

The committee recommendation was approved.