Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery D. Niles is continuing surprise inspections at the Augusta Youth Development Campus and asking employees to report unethical behavior to the department’s tip line.
When Niles dropped in unannounced at the facility last week, he reminded staff that its success depended on strict adherence to policy, according to a news release.
“My inspection objectives are to talk to staff members, see if they’re getting the support they need from the central office and to judge for myself if our staff is following the rules 24/7 in order to meet DJJ goals for a safe and secure facility,” Niles said.
This month, four employees were fired and the facility’s interim director was suspended with pay. Many other personnel changes have occurred at the facility since 19-year-old Jade Holder died in his cell in November 2011 and five youths escaped in October of this year.
Niles has emphasized warnings on policy violations across the agency since being appointed in November. He said other actions and personnel changes could be expected.
The staff is being asked to use an online tip form to further crack down on policy violations and unethical behavior. The reporting system was devised by the department in the summer and is available to employees and the public.
“If they see something, they can also say something to help safeguard this workplace while protecting their identity, too,” Niles said of the tip line. “But one thing is certain: It’s very hard to correct our problems if no one is willing to step forward from the inside and let us know what those problems are.”
To access the tip form, visit the department’s Web site at www.djj.state.ga.us.