Although fewer numbers of low-level offenders are being sent to Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) centers, a Correctional Institution Inspection Committee report released last week found that personnel use of force to restrain adolescents and teens in the state’s facilities increased in 2012.
Last year, an estimated 4.69 “use of force” incidents per youth were tallied up by the Committee. Three years earlier, the estimates were just 3.74 incidents per detained juvenile. One facility -- Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility -- was found to have a “use of force” rate that averaged 7.31 incidents per inmate.
While the average rate of per capita “use of force” incidents has increased over a four-year period, the total number of “use of force” incidents in Ohio has dropped off considerably, however. While an estimated 4,554 “use of force” incidents transpired in Ohio’s DYS facilities in 2009, official numbers in 2012 stood at just 2,462 -- a drop off of more than 45 percent.
With recent state reforms decreasing the state’s confined juvenile population by 75 percent, an Ohio DYS spokeswoman told CentralOhio.Com that the decrease in overall “use of force” incidents, as well as the increase in per capita incidents -- can be attributed to the overall shrinkage of the state DYS population.
“As a result, we are now managing some of the most aggressive youth in the agency’s history,” Kim Parsell is quoted by Chillicothegazette.com.
According to the Committee report, mechanical restraints -- including padded mittens, helmets and handcuffs -- were used approximately 1,885 times last year.
The Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility was found by the Committee to have the highest overall rate of restraint usage, with the Massillon, Ohio center employing mechanical restraints more than 800 times in 2012; in all, youth at the facility spent a combined 250 hours in such restraints last year, averaging 17.3 minutes per incident.
Inmates at the Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility were found to spend the most time in mechanical restraints, with youth at the Delaware, Ohio facility totaling 565 hours. Per the report, on average, young people at the center were restrained for an estimated 104 minutes per incident.