Governor Andy Beshear responds to incident at Warren Juvenile Detention Center

Also talks about the challenges they are facing trying to transform the Department of Juvenile Justice

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — As the focus remains on the Department of Juvenile Justice, Governor Andy Beshear giving an update on the status of the proposed changes he announced last week.

“We’ve acted and we will continue to act, we will continue to take steps to make this into a safe system where we can protect not only youth, but our staff that have been assaulted numerous times,” said Governor Andy Beshear in during a Team Kentucky update.

This coming as the state says three juveniles at the warren juvenile detention center on various charges arranged an attacked on workers, on Monday night, three juveniles reportedly refused to cooperate and attacked the youth worker inside the living unit.
One staff member was treated for non-life threatening injuries, Beshear says he is glad the situation was able to be controlled and did not escalate even further.

“I’m going to want us to figure out what that next thing we can do to protect them, and the youth,” added Beshear.

Earlier this week, ABC 36 spoke with the Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Kerry Harvey, who said the changes to the system will take time, something the governor agrees with.

Beshear also says “we need to make sure that facilities are more secure, and we will. But let’s never try to rationalize when one human being commits an incredibly violent act against another. And let’s make sure we put responsibility on an offender that attacks either staff or another youth. As we are taking steps to get this to the right place, but it’s going to take those steps. We still have to recruit a number of more workers, we got to train them in the new defensive techniques that they’re going to be able to use.”

Beshear also highlighted the reopening of the facility in Jefferson County.
The Governor says when the facility closed, it created challenges for the system, by sending the juveniles to facilities that were already short staffed, but also, the elimination of pensions for workers.
Adding that, when it comes to the juvenile system there are certain questions regarding individuals that can’t be answered.

“We’re looking for the legal changes, and other options to where we could get individuals that would be better off in a different type of facility, but that those facilities won’t take them right now, trying to find a better option for them. And while there are only a few of individuals that fall into that they still need better options than then exist right now,” he says.

The facility in Jefferson County will open living units one unit at the time, the facility will house juveniles younger than 14 or who have been charged with a lower level offense.


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