Tag Archives: detention

Violence Up in Juvenile Detention System Following Taft Closing

The Department of Children’s Services has seen a sharp spike in violence involving children and youths housed in its juvenile detention system in just the past three months, according to data obtained by The Tennessean.
Over July, August and September, there were 102 youth-on-youth or youth-on-staff assaults that involved teachers, staff and guards at Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville, a facility that holds 125 boys and young men ages 13 to 19.
At the Mountain View Youth Development Center in Jefferson County, where 105 boys and young men live, there were 67 reported assaults in the same three-month period.
And at Wilder Youth Development Center in Fayette County, which houses 139 boys and young men, the assault total for three months reached 90.
The rash of assaults reported at DCS facilities follows a controversial decision by agency Commissioner Kate O’Day to shut down two of the state’s detention centers on July 1 as a cost-saving measure. Those two facilities — the Taft Youth Development Center for boys in Bledsoe County and the New Visions center for girls in Nashville — had been where DCS sent some of its most violent and troubled youths.
Those youths have now been transferred to four of DCS’ remaining facilities.

DCS Proposes Closing Taft Youth Center; Legislators Object

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday voiced opposition to a proposal by the state Department of Children’s Services to close a juvenile detention facility in Bledsoe County.
DCS Commissioner Kathryn O’Day said at budget hearings at the University of Tennessee that her agency would close the Taft Youth Development Center near Pikeville under Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s call for each department to prepare 5 percent reductions in spending.
“Taft is our oldest facility. It needs more than $37 million in capital upgrades,” she said. “Because of its age, it is an extremely spread out facility, so it is the most expensive for us to run.”
The Taft center holds 156 boys between the ages of 16 to 19 years old, according to the DCS website. It is the most restrictive of the state’s five youth development centers because it holds serious and repeat offenders. The other facilities are located near Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville.

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