Staffers at Metro Juvenile Detention Center said facility is ‘out of hand’
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Staffers punched, kicked and dragged across the floor.
Images captured by surveillance video from inside the Metro Juvenile Detention Center shows why staffers emailed News4 Investigates with the subject line “HELP US,” saying they fear for their safety and calling the center “out of hand.”
Davidson County Juvenile Court oversees the facility while Youth Opportunities of America, or YOA, manages the center.
News4 Investigates spoke with Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway about the staffers concerns and employees feeling like they are not getting any answers from YOA.
“That definitely is concerning. If they have to reach out to the media and feel that’s the way that they can get heard, I would love for YOA to address the issues prior to that happening,” Calloway said.
This is not the first time YOA’s management of the facility has been called into question.
There were calls to change management after four teens escaped the facility in 2019.
Not only did that not happen, but Calloway’s office told News4 that the county is at the beginning of a new five-year contract with Youth Opportunities, one that has substantial penalties if they violate certain conditions of the contract.
Youth Opportunities would not do an interview with News4 Investigates, but Gary Sallee, Chief Legal Officer for the company, released a statement saying:
Improving the detention center is something both YOA and Calloway agree on.
“We need a better facility. In a small area like that, keeping youth in a confined area where they’re not able to truly have rehabilitation, get restorative issues going on, it’s difficult,” Calloway said.
A challenge but one everyone wants to see fixed so incidents like these don’t happen again.
Youth Opportunity is a parent company that runs Youth Opportunity Investment (YOI) treatment facilities and Youth Opportunity of America (YOA) pre-trial detention facilities.
Rosewood Academy is a YOI facility that houses youth in Department of Children Services custody.
As for the teens who escaped Rosewood Youth Academy, located off Stewarts Ferry Pike in Nashville, DCS said it’s working with Youth Opportunity Investment to review the incident and a corrective action plan.
DCS entered into a new five-year contract with all of its residential treatment facility providers this month. News4 Investigates asked if those contracts also include penalties for escapes like the Metro Juvenile Detention Center. News4 has not heard back from DCS.
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