Law enforcement officials say teen violence is escalating against staff in New York State juvenile detention facilities even as the state continues closing juvenile prisons and sending more troubled youths to community-based programs, the Associated Press reports. At Tryon Girls Center, workers fault permissive policies by Commissioner Gladys Carrion, an advocate of alternatives to youth prisons, since her arrival four years ago as head of the Office of Children and Family Services.
Carrión says research shows better outcomes when young offenders are closer to home and not sent to distant, costly detention centers and she has recently proposed closing four more. The prosecutor and police investigator who review incidents at Tryon say they have seen more violence by juveniles against staff in the past year. “The facility has been in anarchy,” said Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira. Two weeks ago, state police charged a 15-year-old girl with assault for stabbing a Tryon nurse several times with a pen and kneeing her in the face when the nurse was trying to restrain her. Last year, Tryon and two other juvenile detention centers were placed under federal oversight after Justice Department investigators found staff caused dozens of serious injuries, including broken bones and teeth, when they routinely used force as a primary way to restrain juveniles.