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Escape of DCS Detainees Highlights Larger Problem

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NASHVILLE (Jen French) -- The Tennessee Department of Children's Services admits several juveniles have escaped under their care over the past decade.

In January 2014, the Tennessee State Comptroller's office conducted an audit and accused DCS of sloppy paperwork and not keeping track of juveniles on probation.

In 2004, 19 students rioted and used broken mop sticks as weapons at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center. 20 staff members were hurt.

In February 2006, guard Jeffrey Brumett was suspended for driving a juvenile to the teen’s girlfriend’s house for a visit. The teen escaped. Brumett had only been employed for two months.

In the winter of 2006, police say a 13-year-old who escaped state custody set three fires.

In 2007, a teen escaped DCS custody while an employee was taking him to an eye doctor.

Last August, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reviewed deaths of teens in custody in apparent suicides at Mountain View Youth Development Center.
In June 2013, nine girls reportedly pushed their way past a security guard and ran out of a fire door at the Clover Bottom Detention Facility on Stewarts Ferry Pike. There, a Florida-based firm was hired for security. The firm obtained a 4-year, $10 million contract with the state.

"It's almost a question of how much, how many resources you need for the number of kids coming into state custody," Rob Johnson said DCS spokesperson.

DCS investigators tell FOX 17 they do not know if the overnight escape was organized. The 32 teens escaped from four different dormitories. Guards believe they slipped by one at a time. Each one somehow crawled under a fence.  At least 16 guards were on duty throughout the grounds. 
It is not known if DCS will request more state funds to improve facilities or expand staff.


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