Third Jailbreak From Juvenile Detention Center In One Month

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Tennessee juvenile detention center saw its third breakout in one month despite increased security at the Nashville facility.

Thirteen boys escaped the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center Friday night. All of them were apprehended by Sunday morning.

Two teens allegedly overpowered a guard around 11 p.m. Friday and stole his keys and radio. The teens then let themselves out of their dormitory, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services said in a statement.

One teen broke into a guard house by the perimeter gate and opened the gate.

Thirteen youths fled. They allegedly encouraged more to follow them but they refused.

Police apprehended 12 of the boys by 1 a.m. Saturday, officials said. Another suspect, a 16-year-old, was apprehended Sunday morning.

They will be facing additional charges, DCS stated. The majority of the teens held in the facility have at least three felony charges on their criminal record.

"We are very appreciative of the rapid, professional support we received from the Metro Nashville Police, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Department of Correction," the department said. "Recently revised working agreements with these agencies have proven very effective."

During a mass breakout on Sept. 1, 32 teens fled the facility. Since then the bottom of a perimeter fence and the aluminum panels under dormitory windows have been reinforced.

"A lot of shortcomings were exposed after that first breakout," department spokesman Rob Johnson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "They've been working hard and fast and have made a lot of improvements, but there's still more work to do."

DCS Commissioner Jim Henry told the AP earlier this month that stun guns are being considered for guards, who do not currently carry weapons.

Tennessee lawmakers hope to reopen another facility, the Taft Youth Development Center, to house older, more violent youth offenders.

Sources: U.S. News & World Report, New York Daily News

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Joe Loong