All’s normal at YDC

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, September 19, 2018

AMERICUS — The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) issued a statement Saturday saying that all was operating normally after an incident Friday afternoon
Authorities were called to the Sumter County Youth Detention Center on McMath Mill Road shortly after 3 p.m. Friday to an escape attempt.
Local authorities surrounded the facility, and inmates could be seen on the rooftop. At one point, as many as 22 inmates were ascertained not to be where they were supposed to be in the facility.
A Georgia State Patrol helicopter was deployed giving those on the ground a bird’s eye view of how many inmates were on the roof and where they were located.
Shortly before 6 p.m. Sumter County Sheriff’s authorities were ready to turn the scene back over to the YDC personnel after a response team arrived.
The DJJ’s press release said that the incident started Friday when a youth snatched a set of keys from a Juvenile Detention Officer.
“With nowhere to elude security personnel in a campus surrounded by high razor wire fences, about 20 Sumter youths managed to gain access to the roof of a building within the interior of the complex, where they drew attention to themselves instead.
“At no time was there a threat to the public and no correctional officers were overpowered or held hostage during the incident. “The Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has requested an investigation to learn how and why the incident began, to determine those responsible, and ultimately to decide upon any appropriate disciplinary and/or criminal actions.
“The Sumter YDC was briefly on lockdown Friday afternoon while DJJ officers and staff exercised control of the situation. Out of an abundance of caution, state and local law enforcement assisted with exterior perimeter security around the campus while the incident was being resolved.
“DJJ appreciates the rapid response and support of its community law enforcement partners for their reaction when called. All DJJ youth were reported safe and secure when the last Sumter youth came down from the roof of the building.”

— Beth Alston