‘Corruption’ Rampant Inside Troubled Augusta YDC, Former Interim Director Says

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Razor wire fence borders the Metro Regional Youth Detention center in Atlanta, Ga. JJIE Staff, 2010. File photo.Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Commissioner Gale Buckner appointed a new director this week to lead the troubled Augusta Youth Development Campus (YDC). Ronald Brawner will take over from Interim Director Gary Jones, who is returning to his post as Sardis Police Chief, according to WJBF in Augusta.

In November, DJJ and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation began a joint investigation at the facility after the beating death of an inmate. Another inmate was later charged with murder in connection with the death.

The investigation led to the firing of almost 20 YDC personnel amid charges of sexual abuse and inmate possession of contraband.

Jones, who was ordered not to speak with the media during his term as interim director, is now speaking out about what he saw inside the YDC.

"It was obvious to anybody with any common sense that the kids were running the facility," Jones told WJBF. He described the situation inside the YDC as “turmoil.”

Jones says, despite the firings, more work needs to be done to improve conditions inside the YDC.

“Is the corruption still there? Yeah, there's still corrupt personnel. I mean, 90 days didn't give me enough opportunity to get rid of all of it,” Jones said.

According to WJBF, Jones was offered the permanent director position but turned it down because he promised Sardis city leaders he would return after the interim position was finished.

Photo by Clay Duda | JJIE.org

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