ATLANTA On Tuesday, Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery D. Niles announced the conclusion of a three-week investigation into safety and security violations at DJJ’s DeKalb Regional Youth Detention Center. The investigation resulted in the entire overnight security staff being removed from duty at the RYDC. Six corrections officers and their supervisor were suspended with pay while the investigation was being conducted.
Three of the juvenile corrections officers who were accused, including the shift sergeant, resigned their posts while their reviews were still underway. The four remaining officers were all dismissed.
“The shift supervisor and several of these night shift officers actually watched the youths enter and exit the detention center housing units at-will and without staff supervision after lights-out,” Commissioner Avery Niles said. “This level of disregard for DJJ Safety and Security Policy is intolerable. We expect our corrections staff to strictly enforce our security policies as a priority of their daily duties,” said Commissioner Niles.
“Our officers are entrusted with ensuring our youth receive their meals, health care and education in a secure environment so they can successfully transition back to schools or employment in their community,” the Commissioner said. “This incident is truly an anomaly that in no way fairly reflects the extraordinary efforts of more than four-thousand DJJ employees who meet the daily demands and deadlines that keep Georgia’s juvenile justice system working around the state.”
The DJJ Commissioner said the investigation of the seven RYDC night shift officers was the result of evidence brought to light by Department of Corrections Investigators working with DJJ in the course of an unrelated case reported at the DeKalb youth detention facility.
The Commissioner said the investigation focused on allegations of misconduct on the job, deficiencies in accountability, and violations of policies meant to safeguard the integrity of the department.