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Director of Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility Fired

James Darnell has been fired as superintendent of the Indian River. Additionally, Sean Anders was fired as Indian River’s Gang Intervention Specialist.

Columbus, Ohio — Changes to come in Stark County Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility (IRJCF) is undergoing an internal investigation into the center’s leadership.

The Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) announced Friday that James Darnell has been fired as Indian River’s superintendent of schools. Additionally, Sean Anders was fired as Indian River’s Gang Intervention Specialist. IRJCF Deputy Superintendent Charles Wilson was “revoked from unclassified status” and returned to “last classified status.”

All three have been on leave since September 23, 2022. DYS added that Charlie Ford will retain his role as acting director of his IRJCF.

An investigation was initiated after several youths claimed IRJCF facilities were a “dangerous environment”. DYS focused on incidents from August 1, 2022 to September 30, 2022. You can read the 52-page edited investigative report below.

Some of the report’s findings include:

  • Darnell had neglected to supervise administrative staff, to use assigned administrative duties, and to use assigned state cell phones.
  • Wilson had neglected to supervise the unit administration administrator, assigned administrative duties, and used an assigned state cell phone.
  • Anders abused state facilities and created unsafe conditions for staff and youth.

The survey also revealed that IRJCF staff and managers failed to provide adequate programming and recreational needs for youth in the I Unit.

3News will begin covering the Indian River incident in October 2022. When corrections officer David Upshaw was assaulted on the job. Upshaw’s family told 3News’ Bri Buckley that 60-year-old Upshaw had serious injuries to major organs, a hematoma on the side of his head, and a scrape on his eye.

On October 22, 12 young inmates at the facility left their rooms, Armed with makeshift weapons, they barricaded themselves in the school building. A few days later, State Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility, a young man assaulted a corrections officer, robbed a key and a radio, and freed four other boys. I was. Three of his boys involved in Circleville were part of his group of 12 in an incident on the Indian River on October 22nd.

In November, DYS announced a new tool to assist Indian River staff. Includes body camera and pepper spray (Oleoresin Capsicum).

“Research shows that in environments like ours, the use of OC Spray is much safer than physical restraints,” DYS Director Amy Asto wrote to staff. “The use of OC Spray reduces staff and youth injuries and reduces the frequency of staff absent from work due to restraint injuries.”

A DYS spokesperson told 3News that as of the end of September 2022, there have been 77 attacks on Indian River so far, compared to 66 at the end of September 2021 and 52 at the end of September 2020. said.

In addition to safety concerns, Indian River employees object to having to work longer shifts.

In a letter obtained by 3News’ Neil Fisher in Novemberentitled “Mandatory Weekend Compensation,” Ford explained that staff must sign up for weekend shifts based on the facility’s current needs.

Ford told employees that if they were required to report and work by the living unit, they would be eligible for overtime and a $50 bonus for working more than six hours.

Sally Meckling, communications director for the Ohio Association of Civil Service Employees (OCSEA), told 3News that prison guards are often required to work 16-hour shifts four times a week.

According to DYS, Asto and her team have “implemented several improvements throughout Indian River and DYS since last fall, including training, personal safety, hiring and retention, and security within the facility. They will also continue to work on safety, treatment and programming for young people.”

https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/local/stark-county/superintendent-indian-river-juvenile-correctional-facility-stark-county-fired/95-7fab4749-6d92-4af7-b819-b3f1d3b376cb Director of Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility Fired

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