CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nearly one week after an attempted breakout at the Gene Spadaro Juvenile Detention Center in Mt. Hope, Stephanie Bond, acting director of the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services spoke to state legislators about the incident on Monday.

Bond told the Legislative Oversight Committee on Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority five juveniles attempted to breakout after assaulting staff members working the midnight shift May 14. Two were using spray bottles as weapons while others had put water bottles into laundry bags.

However, other staff members responded quickly to thwart the attempt.

“They subdued residents one at a time, took them to their holding cells, which are secure and came up and would get the next one,” Bond said. “They just did a remarkable job and they didn’t even get close to an escape.”

According to Bond, the attempt was timed out to coincide with the midnight shift, which is known to have fewer staff members working the 23-bed facility. At the time, there were 24 residents in holding.

While this escape was easily resolved, it did point out security flaws due to the facility’s design.

When asked by Sen. Bill Laird, D-Fayette, if better locks would have prevented the incident, Bond responded locks, by themselves, would not factor in under current procedure.

“Without having a toilet in those rooms, you can’t have them locked anyways,” she said. “Unless those kids would have been a security risk prior to that.”

There are future plans to upgrade the facility’s security to match other state facilities in case of future incidents where detaining residents quickly is necessary.

“We’re going to make it so they’re able to that with a key like they are at Vickie Douglas (Juvenile Facility),” Bond said. “For those extreme situations where they have to lock somebody quickly in a room, that they’ll have the ability to do so.”

Lawmakers expressed frustration upgrades such as these were estimated to be completed by January when proposed back in December, wondering if the organization overestimated its budget.

Bond said finances were not the issue.

“I believe we have enough funds right now to do the upgrades needed at Gene Spadaro. We had a long purchasing process with the architects which took more time than we were anticipating. So, that put a delay on moving forward.”

Bond assured the legislators the architects have begun to visit the site to begin the process of renovation.

The incident is the second in a juvenile facility this year. Back in February, several juveniles did significant damage at the juvenile facility in Parkersburg. Bond told lawmakers Monday the repair bill will land somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.

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  • Lee

    If they were adults an escape or an escape attempt would add 5 years on their sentence immediately

  • griff

    charge them as adults for the escape attempt & let them go to the big guy's jail

  • DWL

    Changing the liability limits on juveniles' parent(s) under the juvenile justice laws to actual damage costs, instead of the absurdly low limits currently allowed by the liberal legislation. Make mommy and daddy (if they can get a DNA match) monetarily responsible for junior's and jane's destructive acts. Attack the wallet and paychecks.

    • Jason412

      Yes, because clearly these kids respect their parents very much and charging their parents for their destruction will surely encourage them not to do it again.

      • ViennaGuy

        Jason, while I do think that parents should be held accountable for their minor children's actions, I agree with your premise that these kids don't respect their parents and charging the parents for damages will not change the kids.

        Do you have a proposal for addressing this? I'm not bashing; I don't have a clue how to handle it. Locking up these kids for years won't solve the larger problem.

        • Steve

          I really think that the problem in many of these cases is the parents. While not the case in some situations, if you would look at the parents you would realize that they do not have the skills necessary to raise a child. There needs to be accountability for the parents to actually solve the problem, but yes, these children have no respect for anyone or anything.

          • Concerned Parent

            I find it disturbing that people are saying the parents should be held accountable. A lot of these children are not getting the treatment that they need at this facility. This place is just a holding place for these juveniles until a bed comes open for them to start their treatment. A lot of these young people need help, and this place is not able to provide them the help they need. I will say this it doesn't always start with the parents. I know this from experience. I am a well educated Christian with four degrees, own my home and vehicles, a school teacher, and a Sunday School teacher with a loving and supportive family. So am I at fault because my child has chosen to make poor decisions after the fact my husband and I have taught him right from wrong? No, you need to check yourselves, and not put blame on the parents unless you have been in their shoes! :-) Don't get me wrong you do have some parents who don't care, but why is it they don't care? The problems with these children have to start from somewhere, it's up to the state to provide more beds at the different placements for these children so they can start their treatment, and not just have time on their hands to plot their next move because they feel like there isn't any hope!

          • Donnie

            It takes numerous charges and chances given to kids to be placed into detention. Many receive outpatient treatments or inpatient treatment facility placement. You end up getting the worst of the worst in detention facilities. The staff at these facilities are often poorly trained and if trained are prevented by a hands off policy from intervening. Policies regarding these youth need to be addressed or we will be dealing with them as adults in correctional facilities.