Photos show considerable damage done by youths at 'understaffed' Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center

Photos show considerable damage done by youths at 'understaffed' Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center
Updated: Jan. 11, 2018 at 5:26 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The riot at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center Monday sent two people to the hospital and left hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley admitted, sadly, that it doesn't surprise him this riot happened.

He said he's been saying for months there needs to be more staff at the juvenile justice center, a place that houses juveniles accused of multiple accounts of very violent crimes.

"This riot was caused by people who, while they are juveniles, they are a very violent group," O'Malley said.

O'Malley argues unless changes are made, we could see a repeat.

“Could it happen again? Absolutely.  Could it be worse? Could there be more damage, perhaps death? Anything is possible. I think the county has been put on notice that we have serious problems at the center and we need to do something about it,” O’Malley said.

O'Malley is hoping the riot that prompted the response from dozens of officers, including the SWAT team, will serve as a wake-up call to those in charge of the juvenile justice center.

“It's, to me, understaffing.  There needs to be more manpower and an ability to control those who have a history of violent behavior,” O’Malley said.

O'Malley argues the 12 juveniles inside the pod planned to cause a lot of damage, and were successful.

“Absolutely. I don’t think this all of a sudden started an escalated.  I think this was a planned disturbance by the individuals involved,” O’Malley said.

O'Malley explains of those housed in the juvenile justice center, 15 have been charged with aggravated murder, or murder, and close to 70 have been charged with aggravated robbery.

“This county needs to make juvenile rehabilitation a priority, and juvenile justice a priority.  If we don't, we will see a continuation that is plaguing our community,” O’Malley said.

Five of the individuals involved in the riot were initially removed, they were returned to the juvenile justice center on Tuesday.

O'Malley says as soon as the investigation is finished, he intends on charging those involved.

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