The juvenile offender injured in a fight at the Augusta YDC last Sunday night has been released from a local Augusta hospital. The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice announced today that the 15-year-old youth, who was released from treatment mid-week, is now described as recovering well from cuts and bruises sustained during the assault.
DJJ reported Monday that the youth received first aid treatment on-scene and was transported to a local hospital after Augusta YDC supervisors received a report of youth-on-youth violence in a residence unit at the Augusta Youth Development Campus.
Juvenile Corrections Officers reported the fight at the YDC involved two male offenders and no other youth assigned in the living unit were involved in the assault and no one else was injured.
DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles made an official request Sunday for assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct the criminal investigation on-site. From the first night, a team of GBI agents has been assigned to the case.
Later this week, Commissioner Niles made another formal request to GBI Headquarters asking for the same team of investigators "..to be assigned to look at all matters of a criminal nature they may uncover during their interrogations at Augusta YDC." Commissioner Niles said, "DJJ made this request as part of this department's ongoing pursuit of justice and agency transparency in Augusta."
Agents from the DJJ Internal Investigations Unit continue to conduct this agency's administrative investigation and share their findings with the GBI. "We appreciate this assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to develop the case for successful prosecution," said Commissioner Niles.
Commissioner Niles reported the Augusta Youth Development Campus was removed from lockdown status earlier this week, but some changes he ordered in security staffing will remain in effect due to the continuing security problems at the in Augusta facility.
Commissioner Niles said he will take whatever additional precautions are needed during this investigation and will continue to enforce the necessary measures when it's over to ensure the safety and security of the youth in our custody at Augusta YDC. The Commissioner has publicly announced plans to name a new full time Director for the YDC before the end of this month to change directions and achieve new goals at the challenged facility.
DJJ will recommend that felony charges should be filed against the perpetrator who injured the 15-year-old on campus Sunday. Neither youth involved in the incident will be returned to Augusta YDC. The two youth are being moved to separate DJJ facilities. The widening joint DJJ – GBI investigation is expected to continue at the Augusta YDC for several weeks.
Today the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice announced that a juvenile offender was injured during a fight in a residence unit at the Augusta Youth Development Campus (YDC) around 6:55pm Sunday night. DJJ Commissioner Avery D. Niles said the injured youth was transported to a local hospital for treatment after Augusta YDC supervisors received a report of youth-on-youth violence on campus.
Juvenile Corrections Officers at the YDC reported the fight involved two male offenders. Preliminary reports indicate that although other youth were also assigned in the living unit at the time of the incident, no other youth were involved in the assault and no one else was reported injured.
Preliminary reports also indicate several certified Juvenile Corrections Officers were on duty in the living unit at the time the assault occurred and they promptly reported the incident to YDC supervisors who called 9-1-1 around 7:03pm.
Commissioner Niles said the injured youth was taken to the hospital after first aid was rendered by a DJJ nurse at the scene. The youth's parents were promptly notified of the incident Sunday night.
Commissioner Niles said several additional precautionary measures were immediately ordered into effect at the YDC Sunday night after word of the incident was received. The residence unit is now being maintained as a crime scene. The accused perpetrator was moved and will be securely detained under constant observation while officers from the DJJ Internal Investigations Unit are assigned to conduct the agency's Administrative Investigation.
"We also made an official request for assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to maintain agency transparency in the case," said Commissioner Niles. "A team of GBI agents has already been assigned to conduct the criminal investigation there on site," Niles said.
Commissioner Niles reported additional precautionary measures have placed the Youth Development Campus at Augusta on lockdown status while a DJJ Security Emergency Response Team (SERT-Team) monitors the climate of the facility following the incident. Behavioral Health Staff were notified to ensure the mental health safety of all youth on campus following the incident.
A Security Management Response Team (SMRT-Team) has also been placed on standby to assist with limiting youth movement at the campus the rest of the week.
Commissioner Niles, who has publicly announced plans to name a new full time Director for the secure facility before the end of this month, said he has ordered changes in youth movement and security staffing to safeguard against any attempted copycat assaults between residents. The new Commissioner said the ratio of Staff-to-Youth in the residence hall was actually five-to-one when the fight occurred.
"We have been making progress at Augusta. We will take any additional precautions needed during this investigation and we will enforce what measures are necessary to provide a secure environment for the youth in our custody at Augusta YDC," said Commissioner Niles. "We will do everything possible to prevent this kind of violent behavior at our secure facilities and we appreciate assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to develop this case for successful prosecution."
Investigators are scheduled to meet with local prosecutors about the case soon. They say they expect felony charges to be filed against the alleged perpetrator. The investigation launched Sunday night is expected to continue at the Augusta YDC for several weeks.
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