A lot of people don’t know what goes on behind the walls of the Guilford County Juvenile Detention Center.

However, Guilford County Manager Mike Halford visited the place recently and he spoke out at a Board of Commissioners meeting about what he saw – incarcerated kids, led by staff, producing some very impressive artwork and terrific poetry.

In fact, Halford liked some of the artwork so much that he put it to use.  One work (pictured above) even showed up as the cover graphic on this year’s manager’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2023-2024.

“I had the opportunity to visit our juvenile detention facility and attend the art and poetry exhibitions by students in the facility,” Halford said.

He said county leaders often talk about various departments but one that they often don’t talk about enough is the juvenile detention facility.  It’s true.  While many departments are highlighted or praised at meetings from time to time, the rehabilitative work of the employees at the detention center is often overlooked.

He added that this was one of only four county run juvenile detention centers in the state.

“Our youth there are offered mental health services, medical services, education services while they are in the center working on rehabilitation and perhaps changing their trajectory in a safe and secure space,” he said.

The manager went on to add that he was extremely impressed with the creativity of the kids there. He obviously wanted to call attention to their talent because he put it on the cover of the budget book as well as on the county’s website.

Usually, the proposed county budget has a picture of the Old Guilford County Court House or some other mundane government picture on it.

Halford also praised the county staff who work at the center.

“It was a great experience,” he said of the art show. “There was a lot of great artwork and, so, kudos to the kids there – but also a big thanks to our staff.  What I saw there was really caring and compassionate people helping kids go in a different direction.”

The manager said he wanted to call attention to the good work of the center and publicly thank the staff there for what they do.