Teens captured after escaping from youth correctional facility - WSMV News 4

Teens captured after escaping from youth correctional facility

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Staff members at Woodland Hills Youth Development are speaking out about problems at the Bordeaux lock-up for teens.

Early Wednesday, police were called after officials say the teens were able to break their windows using furniture and release a latch, which enabled the juveniles to get out.

"Bunch of metal pieces, pipes, pieces of wood with nails in them, 2-by-4s, things like that," a Woodland Hills employee is heard telling 911 dispatchers about the objects carried by the teens who escaped.

No injuries from the incident have been reported.

A number of employees say the facility is severely undermanned, that people are working 30 or more hours of overtime a week are quitting in droves and leaving the place even more thinly staffed.

The facility is one of the state's three youth development centers that provide treatment programs for delinquent males ages 13 to 19.

"We need more staff," said Woodland Hills employee Austin Agbaghara.

Agbaghara showed Channel 4 News pictures taken last month when he says he was assaulted by a teen while working in the same dorm where the escape attempt happened this week.

He says he was working alone in an area where there were supposed to be two guards.

Several other Woodland HIlls workers who didn't want to appear on camera say the same thing. They've started a petition drive, asking for the resignation of the head of security.

The Department of Children's Services says in the past six months there have been 33 reported assault on staff members at Woodland Hills.

Agbaghara knows he's likely to get fired but says he can't keep silent any longer.

"When you have fear of the truth, there is no more security for anybody. If you don't speak out, how will they know?" Agbaghara said.

The Wednesday escape attempt is under investigation by the state.

"They are going to take a good look at what happened. They have video. They have staff accounts," said DCS spokesman Rob Johnson.

Johnson said it's important to note that no teens ever left the perimeter fence.

The state's own numbers indicate that assaults on staff members at Woodland Hills are fairly common.

The center has had several problems in the past, including fights inside the facility and inmates attacking guards.

The Channel 4 I-Team investigated the facility in May 2013 after obtaining photographs and video of guards sleeping at work instead of watching the juveniles they were paid to supervise.

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