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Augusta YDC's interim director suspended

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 9:17 PM
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 2:17 AM
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The interim director of the troubled Augusta Youth Development Campus was suspended with pay Wednesday and a lieutenant was fired, said Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice spokesman Jim Shuler.

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Jim Shuler, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, answers questions from the media outside of the Augusta Youth Development Campus.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Jim Shuler, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, answers questions from the media outside of the Augusta Youth Development Campus.


At a news conference Wednesday evening, Shuler also said that a Nov. 4 fight among five youths went unreported to the department’s central office for some time. A 17-year-old’s jaw was broken during the assault, but he was not transferred to a hospital for several days.

Interim Director Melvin Womble was suspended with pay because of a pending Juvenile Justice investigation at the facility, but no details on that investigation are being released at this time, Shuler said.

YDC Corrections Lt. Ricky Smiley was terminated for employee negligence in connection with a Dec. 2 assault between two youths that sent a 15-year-old to the hospital with “cuts and bruises.” He was released later that week.

Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery D. Niles, who was appointed in November, described the dismissal as the first of several actions and personnel changes that can be expected under his watch, according to a news release.

Niles said that corrections staffers on duty the night of the fight acted properly but that a later investigation into the circumstances behind the assault revealed security violations caused by Smiley’s failure to follow up on his responsibilities as lieutenant.

“This performance failure may have hindered the ability of other key staff members to prevent the assault and subsequent injury,” Niles said.

The disciplinary actions are the latest developments in more than a year of turmoil at the facility, including the beating death of a resident in 2011 and the escape of five detainees Oct. 19.

On Oct. 26, Smiley was placed on a one-day disciplinary suspension and demoted from captain to lieutenant.

Womble, who was the assistant director at the time of the escape, was also given a one-day disciplinary action before taking over as interim director Oct. 31 when then-Director Ronald Brawner submitted his resignation.

Shuler said Juvenile Justice learned about the Nov. 4 fight only after investigators arrived at the Augusta YDC to investigate the Dec. 2 assault.

The situation prompted Niles to call in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for assistance in looking into security issues at the facility.

“Whether it was an unavoidable clerical error or sloppy oversight, it’s another example of the unacceptable level of safety and security deficiencies the public has come to associate with the management of the Augusta (YDC),” Niles said.

Juvenile Justice has taken out aggravated assault charges on three of the YDC residents involved in the Nov. 4 attack, and a fourth youth has been charged as a juvenile.

Shuler said a jaw injury was not evident during the initial medical examinations of the 17-year-old by the YDC staff, but when his symptoms did not improve for several days he was referred to a hospital, where his jaw was wired shut.

When investigators learned about the unreported incident, DJJ locked down the campus and ordered precautionary measures, including formation of a security management response team.

In Womble’s absence, Shuler said, Juvenile Justice is implementing a “stabilization plan” that involves key department employees, including a regional administrator.

Niles is expected to announce a new director for YDC before the end of the month.

“Progress is being made on several fronts here,” Shuler said.

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OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/12/12 - 11:37 pm
4
1
Why not just hire

Soon to retire Sheriff Strength?

His RCSO operation NEVER had these types of problems.

christyanne76
44
Points
christyanne76 12/13/12 - 02:06 am
2
0
I'm sure the Augusta YDC

I'm sure the Augusta YDC facility is pretty bad...but it seems to be a problem in the juvenile facilities throughout Georgia. The one in Milan, Georgia has similar issues. In Milan, they take an x-ray of the face and from that somehow surmise that there is no soft tissue damage of th inner ear although said ear can be leaking fluid and painful. They do not monitor activities as they should, they do not take appropriate steps when violence occurs, and they do not provide adequate medical care when a resident is beaten. They are, however, experts at sweeping it under the rug. (or attempting to rather)

WAG
287
Points
WAG 12/13/12 - 08:28 am
3
0
what is goin on at this

what is goin on at this place..Why is he getting paid....someone needs to clean house there... This is disgusting and a waste of tax payers money. These troubled kids have no chance...My gosh somebody do something!

single parent
395
Points
single parent 12/13/12 - 10:22 am
5
0
Simple

It is the kids that "ARE" the problem! I have said this over and over, when you treat them like kids ( 1 years old to 6, those are kids, after that all bets are off, unless its some naive TV kid )they act like kids. In other words the staff gets tired of trying when the so called expert call them kids and DO NOT make these so called kids accountable for their actions or treating them as day care children instead of inmates. If you are already in there for a very long/short time, then what do you care about being locked up and the rules, especially if you know that the staff cannot do anything to you and the "EXPERTS that make these rules still keep sceaming the "YOUTHS"! The average "YOUTH there has committed some very serious crimes and the answer is give them play stations, medicate, pet, defend them when the issue being talked about happens or my favorite "SAY THEY ARE YOUTHS !
Been out to a high school , pull up next to a four deep car load of "YOUTHS" or just drove through the average neighbor hood lately. Then I want you to look at who is responsible for 85% of violent crimes and unsolved crimes.
These "YOUTHS" are dangerous and then you put an under paid, stressed out grownup in there line of fire. Oh yes they care at first, but after you process so many complaints and it is wrote off as "THE YOUTHS" then it gets a little old trying! Now run this through your noodle, these same youths usually end up being the same ADULTS doing the same thing in big boy prison which is no less worst. A tag of honor these days, REALLY!
They want to reform these systems, then make them reformed not talk about it! Treat it for what it is,PRISON! Believe me the average kid/adult can be rehabed if they want to do so, but that average is around 10% and dropping.Why, because the system designed by the so called experts are and have not worked! Make the system a place you definately DO NOT want to go to instead of a rest home or a badge of honor and I guarantee you will get more change out of the system then there is now.
READ THE RIGHTS OF INMATES ACROSS THE BOARD AND IT WILL MAKE YOU SICK, BECAUSE THESE SO CALLED EXPERTS SAY IT IS THAT WAY. Fighting, hitting staff, having fecal matter thrown on you, urinated on, mastrubated at, escape, drug dealing, murder and all the crap you are in there for in the first place should not be tolerated. IT IS NOT THE STAFF IN GENREAL IT IS THE TOOLS THE STAFF HAS TO WORK WITH, WHICH IS NOT BEING A BASIC BABY SITTER.
Ask the guy/girl that runs the show for the system if they get any respect when doing a walk thru? I can positively assure you these youths could care less about your statis or position. For that matter do an uncensored walk through un announced with cameras and check out these youths! IF YOUR ACTIONS ARE NOT CHECKED THEN THERE IS NO ACTION TO APPLY.

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 12/13/12 - 10:30 am
1
0
I admit I am NOT the brightest candle on the cake, but....HOW
Unpublished

can one be "suspended with pay?"

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 12/13/12 - 12:33 pm
0
1
Cesspools of corruption.....
Unpublished

sexual abuse, perversion, et al. These faculties attract a certain kind of sub human. They like the little lambs. Either to exercise their frustrated egos and/or their frustrated sex lives. Not your caring grandmother/grandfather types. If there is a case where a young offender enters a facility with any sort of hope and dignity, it will swiftly be removed from his career path.

At risk youth attract predators. Churches, schools, jails and single mother households.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/13/12 - 01:27 pm
1
0
Single parent is so right.

Single parent is so right. These are not 'kids' anymore. They are out of control and possess more rights than the average tax-paying citizen.

single parent
395
Points
single parent 12/13/12 - 04:12 pm
2
0
Patty-P

Yeah you had better know it. Again I state in a nut shell the SYSTEM needs to be changed. Even in something as simple as a first grade classroom setting, the criteria for ignorant behavior is met with a blind eye. I can tell you right now if I show up to work drunk, high, beating my boss and butt naked, it would not go over to well. I would be jobless and go to jail, where I can then get away with that type of behavior! MAKE SENSE? So I certainly wish these experts would look at it in that light, because that is absolutely what is happening. I worked in the field and as a police officer, which I resigned from both because of those exact reasons. Yes I have several children and I never had that problem out of none of mine except one,which I quickly gave the get to stepping quick, fast and in a hurry. I bet you I have no heart problems because of it, I realized this kid was just rotten! No rhyme no reason just rotten!

Liability
4
Points
Liability 12/13/12 - 07:20 pm
2
0
YDC

The YDC has had numerous problems over the years. First, the interim director is being made a scapegoat. Secondly, the staff is not provided with the necessary resources to perform their job. Thirdly, and most important, the young individuals incarcerated at YDC have more rights than the staff. These young individuals are allowed to do what they want. Really, what these young individuals need is boot camp/military training to bring them in line. At the same time, whether this is occurring, security staff needs to treat these young people with respect. I work in a prison environment where profanity by staff toward inmates is the accepted practice. However, I treat inmates with respect and am respected. A little bit of love goes a long way. It is amazing how people who make regulations are not the ones who work in the place, so it would help if the JJD would listen to the employees and provide them with the resources they need.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/13/12 - 09:18 pm
0
0
I agree Liability, and at

I agree Liability, and at times it's almost just as bad at school. The reasons for our failing schools doesn't necessarily lie with the teachers. It's a system gone awry, and sadly we are all placing the blame everywhere but where it belongs. We can continue funneling millions into the public school system to try and correct things that the government isn't responsible for correcting. It'll be the very same thing with juvenile 'justice' and crime and will continue to get worse year after year. I have always felt that the boot camps were helpful too....why? Because they offer structure, teach responsibility and are DISCIPLINED. They correct youth/young adults when wrong, not make excuses for every single thing they do. The pity train is what is making our youth hopeless and helpless. Our current system is a complete failure. The people working in the YDC don't care at all about the youth or what happens to them while incarcerated or after. Apparently they are only there to collect a check.

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