One of the employees fired for making mistakes that led to the escape of four juveniles had prior major violations just four months prior, News4 Investigates has learned.
Tierra Foxx was terminated after investigators with the private company Youth Opportunity, which runs the facility, said she called for an elevator to transport the four teens to the basement without checking to see if they had supervision.
Foxx’s personnel file, obtained by News4 Investigates, shows in August, she allowed four juveniles to be in a single cell not assigned to them.
The written warning read that the action compromised the security of the juveniles.
That same month, she did not show up for work and failed to notify supervisors.
The written warning read that it could lead to possible termination if it happened again.
Foxx was working that night of the escape along with three other employees that an internal investigation shows made such serious mistakes that it allowed the juveniles to escape.
Two of the employees, Patrick Jones and Alexis Beech, now face criminal charges for facilizing in the escape due to their reckless supervision.
Our messages to Foxx and Beech were not returned, and Jones did not answer when we went by his last known address.
The mistakes made by the four are only latest problems found since Youth Opportunity landed the contract in 2015.
News4 Investigates found repeated cases of understaffing, including one case where no one was watching an entire pod of juveniles.
In 2017, a juvenile escaped into the ceiling and came crashing through.
In emails, court administration wrote that they considered the mistakes made by the company meant they were in breach of their contract.
Still, the contract has not been cancelled.
“Knowing there were already problems with this company, should this contract have been terminated before these kids were even able to escape?” asked News4 Investigates.
“That's a very good question Jeremy. I think that is something that I have been asking myself every day since that occurred,” said court administrator Kathy Sinback.
Youth Opportunity is on tap to receive 22 million dollars in their contract with the city; a contract that can be broken with cause.
“It is easy to terminate a contract with metro on paper, it is very difficult to do it in practice,” said Sinback.
Sinback said they are currently evaluating what is more cost effective: going with a private company or allowing the city to take over.
Sinback said if the city takes over, it means having to pay staff and metro benefits, so it unclear what is the most cost-effective option.
Sinback said they are constantly evaluating the contract with Youth Opportunity and has already drafted a proposal to send out to other companies to consider bidding on a new contract.
Youth Opportunity will also be allowed to compete for the bid.
Youth Opportunity has not responded to a week and a half of requests for comments from News4 Investigates.