Young men and women at Spring Creek Youth Detention Services in Colorado Springs, Co., live in constant fear of violence, according to a whistleblower who works there, reports the Denver Post. “We have had multiple assaults: assaults on staff, assaults on kids. We had an assault on a teacher,” said an employee. “There’s just a serious lack of leadership from the top.” The employee said the violence is partially the result of restrictions on physically restraining the residents and using isolation as methods of forcing behavioral compliance.
Amid these claims and mounting scrutiny, Charles Parkins, director of the Divison of Youth Corrections, has left the agency. The state Department of Human Services did not say why Parkins left or whether he resigned or was fired, saying it was a personnel matter. The Colorado Springs Gazette said an employee filed a complaint with the state attorney general, alleging riots, consensual sex acts among residents and conditions so bad that it amounted to child abuse. State Rep. Pete Lee said employees started approaching his office with complaints two years ago. “I’ve been hearing that place is in a state of chaos,” he said, adding that understaffing, a high rate of turnover among facility officials and corrections officers, coupled with a lack of comprehensive training, has made the facility unsafe for employees and residents.