Dozens Flee Teen Detention Facility

0
675

Authorities were on the hunt Tuesday for 10 teenagers still missing after a mass escape from a youth detention center in Nashville, Tennessee, the previous night.

A reported 32 detainees at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center crawled under a facility fence and made a break for it Monday night around 11 p.m., according to [#protected_0#[[#protected_0#[[[#protected_0##protected_1#][#protected_2##protected_3#]]][[[#protected_0##protected_1#][#protected_2##protected_3#]]]]. Some of the teens were found overnight and in the early morning, but 10 were still at large Tuesday, according to Rob Johnson, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

“Apparently they were able to find a weak spot at the bottom of the fence and they were able to go underneath it,” Johnson said, according to [[#protected_0##protected_1#][[[#protected_0##protected_1#][#protected_2##protected_3#]]]. “They’re urging anyone who might see any of these kids to call law enforcement to apprehend them.”

A large number of facility detainees reportedly kicked out a metal panel under a common area window, according to [#protected_2##protected_3#]. The group then climbed out of the opening and lifted part of a chain-link fence to escape the facility. Officials were unsure if the escape was spontaneous or premeditated.

[#protected_0#[[#protected_0#[[[#protected_0##protected_1#][#protected_2##protected_3#]]][[[#protected_0##protected_1#][#protected_2##protected_3#]]]]

Johnson said the detention center holds 78 teenagers who have committed at least three felonies, according to the Times. Johnson said most of the teens’ crimes relate to property damage, assault and robbery, according to [#protected_0#[[#protected_0##protected_1#]. No one held at the facility was charged with homicide or murder.

A group of Woodland Hills inmates escaped from their rooms in May, but staffers were reportedly able to convince them to return willingly, according to [#protected_2##protected_3#].

As of Tuesday morning, no criminal activity had been reported in the surrounding areas related to the teens’ escape, according to WTVF-TV and [[#protected_0##protected_1#]. Near the facility is a frozen pizza plant, a liquor distributor and a women’s prison, according to the AP.

The Department of Children’s Services is reportedly coordinating with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and police to track down the remaining escapees.

[[#protected_0##protected_1#][[[#protected_0##protected_1#][#protected_2##protected_3#]]]

The Woodland Hills Youth Development Center includes a school and career counseling services, according to the AP. It is reportedly designed to transition convicted teenagers to less restrictive detention settings.

The center made headlines in May 2013 when photos and video surfaced of security guards sleeping while on duty, according to WSMV-TV. One of the sleeping security staffers had reportedly been caught sleeping in September 2011 and received a written warning.

“If a person who is held wants to be out, the best time is when a guard is sleeping,” local attorney Everette Parrish said at the time.

There is no indication that guards were sleeping during the escape Monday night.

The Woodland Hills facility reportedly has a history of disciplinary incidents. More than 100 assaults were reported over a three-month period in 2012, according to the AP. Staff members were reportedly assaulted 17 times by the facility’s teens during six months in 2012, according to WSMV.

A 2013 incident also sent one teenager to the hospital after he was reportedly choked and rendered unconscious by a fellow inmate.

 

NO COMMENTS