A Nashville detention center for juveniles has suffered two escape attempts in as many days, in what appears to be just the latest symptoms of ongoing problems. According to Yahoo News, about 24 teen inmates broke out of a common area in the Tennessee facility and began to riot in the yard Wednesday night. They were armed with sticks and pipes, and also got their hands on a fire extinguisher, which they sprayed around the area.
The cameras of local TV stations caught footage of the chaotic scene, which included video of a detention center staff member being chased and assaulted by inmates.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, over 30 juvenile offenders—their ages ranging from 14 to 19—escaped the Woodland Hills Youth Detention Center just two days earlier on Monday night. Officials at the facility said the jail breakers slipped out of the center by exploiting a weak spot in the fence that surrounds a yard. Once they found that, it was all too easy for them to crawl underneath.
The Wednesday night disturbance began after the latest mob of inmates busted through metal panels beneath the common area’s windows and scrambled into the yard. Before they were able to make good their escape, police had encircled the detention center’s perimeter. After about four hours of mayhem, the authorities brought in a SWAT team and ultimately pacified the situation around 3 a.m.
As of Thursday, most of the Monday escapees have been recaptured. Six are still at large, however, and officials have assured the public that a systematic manhunt for the remaining escapees is underway. Some of the teens who participated in the breakout on Monday were also involved in Wednesday’s attempt. Ten juveniles identified as ringleaders among the population have been taken to another detention center for questioning.
Occurrences of violence and misconduct among the detention center’s inmates and staff have been plaguing Woodland Hills for the last few years. The most recent was a rash of assaults in 2012 when older teens were added to the population from another facility that had closed. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that, in 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice ranked the center as 13th in the country among juvenile facilities with reports of sexual abuse by staffers.
As the Woodland Hills staff repairs the damage from Wednesday night, concerns are mounting regarding how the center intends to curtail further problems. According to USA Today, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Jim Henry has released a statement about the incident, which includes assurances that he intends to “‘renegotiate’ policies that bar guards from locking juveniles into their rooms at night.”
Images via CBS News