Audit questions detention facility
by The Associated Press
November 17, 2012 01:33 AM | 2118 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUGUSTA — An audit of the Youth Detention Campus in Augusta has found the facility failed to have a planner to oversee emergency responses or to have a cooperative agreement with local law enforcement.

The 87-page audit was released to the media through an open records request, The Augusta Chronicle reported Friday. The audit was conducted in August, nearly two months before five juveniles escaped from the facility Oct. 19 and led officers on a chase.

In addition to not having a planner to oversee emergency responses, the audit found the facility has not been conducting monthly emergency drills and that some youths were not photographed during admission as required. The audit noted the control of youths’ movements was “without structure, unorganized and disorderly.” And the grievance officer reported that he had not received training on the grievance process or the performance of his duties.

The facility has been under scrutiny since a youth was found dead in his cell a year ago, and an investigation found his cell door had been left unlocked.

Investigations conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other agencies have revealed abuse, sexual misconduct and smuggling of drugs into the facility by guards. Eleven employees have resigned, been fired or demoted.

Avery Niles, who recently took over as commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice, told The Augusta Chronicle the agency is making new staffing arrangements.

Other changes since the October escape include additional perimeter safety and stadium lighting for the 456-acre campus.

“Safety and security and a professional, ethical staff remain a major goal for Augusta YDC,” Niles said. “There is no room for compromise when safety and security violations at one of our facilities threaten the security of our staff and our residents or endanger the safety of the community.”
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