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Ohio juvenile facility deploying bodycams after barricade incident

Pay supplements will also be offered to the youth specialists and corrections officers who work in the Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility housing units


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By Megan Sims

MASSILLON, Ohio — Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility is going to make some changes after a weekend incident during which 12 youths barricaded themselves in the facility.

At a Sunday afternoon press conference, the Ohio Department of Youth Services and officials from Indian River announced that they will deploy body cameras and offer pay supplements to youth specialists/corrections officers who work in the Indian River housing units through the end of the year, after inmates broke out of their rooms Saturday afternoon. Prior to the incident, there had been several complaints about working conditions and safety at the facility.

According to a press release, the incident began around 12:45 p.m., after an inmate was able to access keys from a youth specialist in his housing unit. The inmate then began unlocking the doors to other teens’ rooms in the facility, and they barricaded themselves in the building.

“In total, 12 young offenders, ages 15-19, exited their rooms and ran to the nearby school building on the Indian River campus,” authorities said. “These 12 teens were serving sentences on adjudications for serious charges including but not limited to felonious assault, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated riot, and gun specifications.”

Some of the teens were able to access computers within the classrooms and post videos of what was happening.

The release added that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) special response team was dispatched to manage the incident. Team members tried to talk to the teens, who claimed they were armed with makeshift weapons created inside the school and tools from the construction-trade vocational classroom. Authorities have declined to identify specifics about the weapons. When the teens declined to leave the facility voluntarily, ODRC deployed pepper spray.

After midnight on Sunday, the teens were back in custody after their medical evaluations. Six of them are in custody at Indian River, while the other six are at the Stark County Jail.

“Neither the youth nor special response team members suffered injuries. Damage to the interior of the building is being assessed,” the release said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is currently investigating the situation, and all 12 of the teens involved are expected to face new charges related to the incident.

Authorities also said that Indian River is operating at full staff, while ODRC’s special response team will remain on campus to assist with staffing and security.

This last week alone, there were several instances where workers had been assaulted by inmates, one of which resulted in charges for a 19-year-old inmate. One worker was assaulted the day of the barricade incident, a worker had been hospitalized and released; authorities say the assault was unrelated.

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