State lawmaker suggests changes to detention center after multiple escape attempts – FOX13 News Memphis
SOMMERVILLE, Tennessee – Three minors attempted to escape from the Wilder Youth Development Center on Tuesday.
This happened almost two weeks after three minors successfully escaped the facility. All three are now in detention again.
Last week, the Department of Children’s Services pledged to add more security guards, improve security cameras, and be audited by the Department of Corrections.
RELATED: Officials question increase in incidents at Wilder Youth Development Center
However, when asked, DCS did not update FOX13 on its progress.
State Senator Page Walley suggests sending minors considered more dangerous to adult detention centers.
“Our staff there are also at risk, and I am very, very concerned for the welfare and safety of the counties of Fayette living near the Wilder Center,” said Senator Walley.
In the past 17 days, three minors have managed to escape from the Wilder Youth Development Center.
Seven more have tried and failed, while three of those miners tried on Tuesday.
Senator Walley said there are several issues involved.
He said the Wilder Youth Development Center building is over 50 years old, staff members cannot properly protect or restrain minors, and the facility is a rehabilitation center, not a correctional facility.
“You have the most egregious, dangerous and violent behavior of young people 18 and under who are housed there and this accreditation does not give the officers there the latitude to make, say, the appropriate holds, to use restraint. chemical never if there is a disturbance and protect yourself adequately, âSenator Walley said.
On June 29, the Children’s Services Department said it would add more private security guards, be assessed by TDOC security specialists, improve staff compensation and recruit more officers as well as other changes.
Senator Walley thinks these are good measures. However, he suggests moving some of the more violent offenders to adult institutions.
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âYou have a small percentage that can disrupt the whole organization and take a disproportionate amount of staff and resource time,â Senator Walley said.
During the next legislative session, Walley plans to secure funds for the installation. He also wants to add more facilities for minors.
Anyway, he said something had to be done.
“A few bad apples can ruin the whole bunch, they’ve done bad things, and bad things happen and put other people at risk,” said Senator Walley.
FOX13 has contacted DCS. A spokesperson said he was still investigating how the three minors attempted to escape the facility on Tuesday.
DCS did not respond to FOX13 questions about how the escape attempt happened with additional security on the ground.
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