Department of Juvenile Justice replaces Augusta YDC director

Former Director Ronald Brawner submitted his resignation effective Nov. 15, and is now on leave until that date.

Melvin Womble has been named acting director of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice’s Youth Development Campus in Augusta, effective immediately, the state agency announced Wednesday.

As acting director, Womble has full authority to manage day-to-day facility operations, a news release stated. Former Director Ronald Brawner submitted his resignation effective Nov. 15, and is now on leave until that date.

The Augusta campus has seen numerous problems over the past 12 months, including the death of a resident and the recent escape of five residents.

Womble has held the position of Augusta YDC assistant director of security since March and is a retired Army drill instructor and platoon sergeant. He is a 16-year veteran with the Georgia Department of Corrections. He spent two years as a unit manager at the Augusta State Medical Prison where he managed a dorm with 400 inmates.

The Juvenile Justice department also announced that higher-ranking officials from its central office will continue overseeing operations in Augusta until a new director is named.

The investigation into the recent escape at the Augusta campus continues, the release stated.

Six employees, including Brawner, were disciplined and security improvements were ordered following the Oct. 19 escape, in which one inmate remained at large for nearly two days.

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