After lawsuit, assaults drop at Oklahoma juvenile jail

By Julie Bisbee Modified: December 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm •  Published: August 21, 2008
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Th
e Office of Juvenile Affairs and the Department of Justice have drafted a tentative settlement agreement and are making changes to the agreement to satisfy legal requirements.

Changes made as a result of the lawsuit also have helped lower the number of assaults, Christian said. Recommendations from the settlement agreement include adding video cameras and standardizing the definition of assault, Christian said.

Now, assaults are often caught on camera and a team of staff members are able to review the incidents, said Everett Gomez, Rader superintendent.

Teens with mental illnesses moved
The department also has moved offenders with serious mental health issues to a residential treatment center in Norman. This allows staff members to focus on offenders with treatable behavioral problems, Gomez said.

"Kids are going to get attention, good or bad, they're going to get attention,” Gomez said. "We want to focus on good attention.”

Since taking over the job, Gomez said the facility has increased its recreation and work programs to help the juveniles build self confidence and channel energy.

"They need to run that energy off,” Gomez said. "We want them to compete and feel confident about themselves.”

Rader holds about 136 teens, and the median age is 16. Juvenile offenders as young as 14 and as old as 20 are placed there after being convicted of a crime.


Record of assaults at the Rader Center
July 2005 to June 2006

Juvenile assaults

•322 juvenile assaults on juvenile

•75 juvenile assaults on staff

Sexual assaults

•4 sexual assault of staff by juvenile

•4 sexual assault of juvenile by juvenile

•1 sexual assault of juvenile by staff

July 2006 to June 2007

Juvenile assaults

•278 juvenile assaults on juvenile

•61 juvenile assaults on staff

Sexaul assaults

•4 sexual assault of staff by juvenile

•6 sexual assault of juvenile by juvenile

•2 sexual assault of juvenile by staff

July 2007 to June 2008

Juvenile assaults

•27 juvenile assaults on juvenile

•37 juvenile assault on staff

Sexual assaults

•0 sexual assault of staff by juvenile

•0 sexual assault of juvenile by juvenile

•1 sexual assault of juvenile by staff

Source: Office of Juvenile Affairs

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