Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced that seven employees at the DeKalb County Regional Youth Detention Center have been removed, following findings from a three-week investigation.
According to Jim Shuler, an official DJJ spokesman, three of the officers, among them the facility’s night shift sergeant, resigned while the review was still being conducted. The other four officers, all of whom were suspended during the investigation, have been dismissed from their positions.
In a press release, DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles said that several night shift officers at the facility allegedly allowed youths to enter and exit the facility at-will.
“This level of disregard for DJJ Safety and Security Policy is intolerable,” Niles stated. “We expect our corrections staff to strictly enforce our security policies as a priority of their daily duties.”
The security and safety violations were uncovered by the Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC), the agency tasked with conducting internal DJJ investigations of the state’s juvenile facilities since the release of a United State Department of Justice report last month. At the time of the findings, the DOC was investigating an unrelated case at the facility.
“This incident truly is an anomaly,” Niles is quoted in the DJJ press release. “It should be obvious to all agency personnel that DJJ has the capability of conducting more than one major investigation at a time and to take swift action against staff misconduct and egregious policy violations like this.”