Pittsburgh Juvenile Detention Center Facing State Probes

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Photo from Alleghenycounty.us

Pennsylvania officials are investigating administrators at a Pittsburgh juvenile detention center amid charges of mismanagement and favoritism.

Last month, two of Shuman Juvenile Detention Center’s highest ranking administrators were given one-week suspensions, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

William Simmons, director of the Allegheny County facility, was placed on unpaid suspension for two days last month, and county controller’s office records indicate he will serve an additional three-day leave without pay in April. Lynette Drawn-Williamson, the facility’s deputy director, was also suspended last month, serving a five-day leave in March.

Both suspensions come on the heels of a county report highly critical of the management at Shuman. Among the allegations, the county manager report released last month cites financial mismanagement, rampant favoritism and timecard fraud at the facility.

Official records, however, do explain why the two officials were placed on suspension.

In addition to the Allegheny County probe, the facility is also being investigated by Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare and Juvenile Court Administrative Judge Kathryn Hens-Greco, who is supervising a team comprised of almost two dozen officials and non-county representatives for an inspection planned later this month.

According to Department of Public Welfare officials, Shuman officials took four days to report an incident that occurred at the facility in January in which a youth had his head slammed into a metal door frame by detention center personnel. A services employee union representing the child care workers at the facility filed a grievance regarding the case, which the Post-Gazette said is one of about a dozen outstanding against the facility.

Three additional reports on conditions at Shuman may be released by the end of the month.

"The question is, is this a good place for kids?“ Judge Kathryn Hens-Greco is quoted by the Post-Gazette. “If not, that report will come out and we'll look at how to improve it."

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