By Greg Gelpi
She spent her years on the bench trying to keep juveniles out of jail and has been recognized with the renaming of the Clayton County Regional Youth Detention Center.
The Georgia General Assembly approved legislation renaming the Clayton County Regional Youth Detention Center the "Martha K. Glaze Regional Youth Detention Center" after the former Clayton County Juvenile Court judge.
Glaze was the county's first full-time Juvenile Court judge and sat on the bench from 1977 to 1999 when she retired.
"I found it to be a very very satisfying job, at times, frustrating, but satisfying," Glaze, 73, said.
Finding resources, which were often limited, and helping some juveniles, who simply returned to delinquent behavior, she said her job at times was "frustrating." Recently, though, a repairman went to her house, recognized her name and thanked her for turning his life around.
Clayton County Juvenile Court Judge Steve Teske, who drafted the resolution approved by the state legislature, said the new name is appropriate and the former name was misleading.
Glaze dedicated her time on the bench to being an advocate for children, he said, calling the honor appropriate and deserving.
"I can say she did everything in her power to prevent the detention of kids," Teske said.
According to Teske, "since Clayton County implemented its Juvenile Detention Alternative Program about three years ago, the detention rate fell approximately 44 percent, which opened beds and allowed the Department of Juvenile Justice , which manages all the RYDCs, to move another county into the Clayton RYDC."
Although the detention center's name reads "Clayton County," Teske said the center actually houses juveniles Henry and Fayette counties as well.
"Another reason to change the name is to make sure the public is not misled to believe that there are only Clayton County kids in the RYDC," he said, stressing that it's a "regional" detention center. "We are concerned with the appearance it gives to the community."
Clayton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracy Graham credited Glaze with "bringing the juvenile court system into the 21st century."
Graham said that Glaze was "instrumental" in bringing the regional youth detention to the county and having built the existing juvenile court facility. She also introduced programs, such as mediation, citizen review panels and CASA.
"She did everything she could with limited resources not to have kids detained," Teske, who practiced law in her courtroom, said. "She was tough as nails, but that's one reason I respected her."
Glaze also served as the president of the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges and received the highest honor bestowed on a juvenile and family court judge by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
The detention center houses up to 60 juveniles and was full last week, Teske said. Of those juveniles about a third were from Clayton County.