Report issued prior to juvenile justice center riot cites problems at facility

Report issued prior to juvenile justice center riot cites problems at facility

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It's been over two weeks since a riot broke out at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center.

A report obtained by Cleveland19 shows officials found significant flaws in the center more than a month before the unrest.

This operational analysis report came out in November, recommending several changes to the juvenile center.

It was commissioned after "unacceptable incidents" occurred that put juveniles in harm's way.

The riot on Jan. 8 cost an estimated $200,000 in damage and sent two people to the hospital.

In the report, officials found a lack of "structure and professionalism" within the juvenile detention center.

They said that behavior trickles down to the juveniles who show a lack of respect for the staff.

More than a month before the riot, the report points out the center has "a lack of security tools/equipment to safely gain control over unruly residents."

The report brings up gang problems and juveniles with active warrants, but all of the information concerning that was redacted, so Cleveland 19 could not see any recommendations made there.

The Juvenile Justice Center has been targeted for reforms before.

But County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley says it hasn't been enough.

"Could it happen again? Absolutely. Could it be worse, could there be more damage? Perhaps death? Anything's possible," O'Malley said in an interview just after the riot.

O'Malley told Cleveland19 he's been asking for more staff in the facility for months.

He acknowledges there are serious problems there.

"This county needs to make juvenile rehabilitation a priority. And juvenile justice a priority. Because if we don't we will see a continuation of the behavior that has been plaguing our community," O'Malley said.

The report found the workforce culture needs to change and says a longterm plan will be needed to fix it.

Earlier on Friday, the ACLU of Ohio and the Juvenile Justice Coalition sent a letter to county officials urging them to address these problems.

They want a committee to be formed to oversee reform of the detention center.

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