State officials have cleared three guards of accusations that they incited violence among girls held at a Rome juvenile detention facility. One of the guards was fired, though, for failing to prevent a Dec. 7 attack, and the other two were disciplined for unrelated policy violations. Some girls in the facility said they believed guards were complicit in some violence, but officials said the guards passed polygraph exams and “the totality of witness statements and information” did not support the charges.
Amy Howell, the first woman to head the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, is stepping down after just 10 months on the job. Gov. Nathan Deal has named her general counsel for the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities to help oversee a federal mental health settlement.
Georgia’s juvenile court judges face a new, unprecedented set of challenges that could separate kids from their parents and make the state an “asylum” for runaway delinquents. As of Friday, Georgia will have no way to track down juvenile offenders who run away to avoid arrest or to return other states’ offenders who’ve fled to Georgia.
Georgia has until June 30 to sign an interstate compact pledging cooperation in juvenile justice matters. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue refused, ostensibly because he felt it infringed on the state’s sovereignty. Without the compact, officials may have no way to monitor juvenile offenders who leave Georgia. The clock is ticking.
Georgia is set to become the go-to state for delinquent juveniles trying to escape the system, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reports. Unless the Legislature acts, Georgia on July 1 would be dropped from a new interstate compact and could become a “dumping ground for out-of-state delinquent juveniles,” including violent and sex offenders, one official said.