SAND SPRINGS — Changes in policies and programs at the state's juvenile detention facility have drastically reduced the number of assaults at the L.E. Rader Center, according to figures released by the Office of Juvenile Affairs.
From July 2007 to June 2008, the number of assaults at Rader dropped by 286, according to the figures. During that time, a total of 65 assaults were reported.
Juvenile assaults on staff members accounted for more than half of those assaults. The report also showed that there were 27 juvenile assaults on juvenile and one sexual assault by a staff member on juvenile.
Figures from this past fiscal year are in sharp contrast to numbers from the previous two years.
During the fiscal year that ended in June 2006, there were 406 assaults reported at the Rader Center. The number of assaults between July 2006 and June 2007 was 351, according to the report.
"The numbers for this year are so good they're scary,” said Gene Christian, Office of Juvenile Affairs executive director. "It's an amazing turnaround.”
The decrease in the number of assaults at Rader comes as the Office of Juvenile Affairs and state officials work to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. The 2006 lawsuit filed in a Tulsa federal court claimed staff and policies at Rader did not protect children at the center and violated their civil rights.
What does the lawsuit say?
The lawsuit alleges staff did not adequately address mental health issues or protect offenders. The lawsuit also claims staff engaged in sexually inappropriate relationships with youth at the center.