Youth injured in fight at Augusta YDC facility

A juvenile at the troubled Augusta Youth Development Campus was injured and hospitalized after a fight in a residence unit Sunday, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice announced Monday.

The fight occurred between two male inmates, and no other youths residing in the unit were injured, according to a news release.

Neither the extent of the juvenile’s injuries nor his current status was provided Monday, and the department said no further information would be released.

The fight occurred around 6:55 p.m. Several corrections officers were on duty in the unit, and the officers “promptly reported the incident to YDC supervisors, who called 9-1-1 around 7:03pm.”

The residence unit is now being maintained as a crime scene, and felony charges are expected to be filed against the accused perpetrator, according to the department. While officers from DJJ Internal Investigations are assigned to conduct the agency’s administrative investigation, the perpetrator will be detained under observation.

Sunday’s assault is the latest incident in more than a year of tragedy and wrongdoing at the facility.

In November an 87-page internal audit of YDC revealed numerous violations of department policy and indicated that the previous director, Ronald Brawner, appointed in March, was either not trained or ignored policy before he quit days after five youths escaped Oct. 19.

It took at least one hour and 20 minutes for YDC staff to begin an outside search or notify the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office of the escape.

The youths stole a car on Tobacco Road and led police on a chase. Except for one juvenile, who remained at large for two days, all were caught shortly after abandoning the vehicle.

The inmates escaped the same day that another YDC inmate, Michael Everidge, now 18, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the 2011 beating death of Jade Holder.

Holder died of head injuries and liver damage caused by a lack of oxygen. Everidge had thrown him to the ground, causing his head to hit the floor. YDC employees did not immediately provide Holder with medical attention, and it was more than an hour before Holder was admitted to the hospital.

After the incident, YDC Director John Brady was fired and 11 employees resigned, were fired or were demoted.

In response to Sunday’s assault, DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles said a team of Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents will conduct the criminal investigation to maintain transparency.

The campus will remain on lock-down, and movement will be limited while a DJJ Security Emergency Response Team monitors the climate of the facility, which has improved recently, the news release said.

“We have been making progress at Augusta,” Niles said, noting that the staff-to-inmate ratio was five to one at the time of the assault. “We will take any additional precautions needed during this investigation, and we will enforce what measures are necessary to provide a secure environment for the youth in our custody at Augusta YDC.”

 

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Topic page: Augusta Youth Development Campus

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