• Corrections officers under investigation at DeKalb RYDC

    By: Richard Belcher


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned that three correctional officers are under investigation for an apparent violation of security rules at a state juvenile detention center in DeKalb County.

    Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher has learned this follows an incident that lead to the firing of an entire shift of guards at the same facility.

    This is at least the sixth incident at the same detention center and another in which alleged staff misconduct is the focus of the investigation.

    But a senior state official says no juvenile detainees exploited the situation to try to escape.

    The long string of incidents at the regional youth detention center in south DeKalb began with a full-blown riot in May of 2011.

    During the follow-up investigation, several inmates accused guards of smuggling marijuana into the facility.

    Two officers resigned and one was fired.

    In July of this year, Channel 2 Action News broke the story that seven officers either resigned or were fired after a significant security breach.

    An internal report says the officers were, "fully aware that three youths (one being an escape risk) was moving about the facility through unsecured (propped open) doors without any supervision."

    The sergeant in charge admitted in the report, "I take full responsibility. I decided to cut corners and violated all security procedures."

    Belcher obtained the official report on the latest incident that took place Halloween morning at the DeKalb RYDC.

    Because of it, three correctional officers are under investigation.

    "This specific incident we had a minor breach where we left some youths unattended. They were still in a secure area, but they didn't have an officer present with them for a short period of time," Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice Mark Sexton told Belcher.

    Sexton told Belcher on Thursday, that security cameras recorded the incident, which was serious enough to warrant a full investigation, but posed no threat.

    "There was never any point where the youth were, had any opportunity of getting released. They were at all times, were still inside two layers of secure fencing," Sexton said about the incident.

    Sexton said the assistant director at the detention center is using the video of the latest incident to reemphasize the importance of consistent security measures.

    Three guards remain under investigation, but so far, no one has been disciplined.

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