The U.S. Department of Justice will investigate Indianapolis’s troubled Marion County Juvenile Detention Center, focusing on how the staff can prevent or investigate abuse and how detainees can air grievances, the Indianapolis Star reports. The investigation comes after a series of high-profile incidents surfaced at the center, including reports of sexual abuse of females in custody and shoddy bookkeeping.
Cale Bradford, presiding judge of Marion Superior Court, welcomes the review. “They’re supposed to be one of the watchdogs” to prevent abuse, Bradford said. In April, nine former center workers were charged with sexually abusing female detainees. Longtime Superintendent Damon Ellison resigned after being charged with concealing evidence of abuse and failing to report an allegation to child welfare authorities. In a report in May, the National Partnership for Juvenile Services found overuse of room confinement to discipline residents; an atmosphere of mistrust between staff and detainees; and the perception among residents that staff would not protect them.