I-Team exclusive: Look at $100,000 repairs from teen rampage at juvenile jail

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CLEVELAND – The FOX 8 I-Team just got an exclusive look at $100,000 in repairs from a rampage by teen inmates at a local juvenile jail, and we’ve learned guards could face discipline for not doing more to stop the uprising.

Wednesday, the chief judge of the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court outlined a series of steps aimed at preventing more trouble in the county detention center. And Kristin Sweeney outlined an internal investigation as well.

Six teens face criminal charges for going wild in a housing unit in January causing widespread damage. It took hours for a SWAT team to get there and regain control.

Now the court says more guards are getting hired; the guards will get more training; the inmates will get more mental health services, and a new detention center director will soon be hired.

Meantime, an internal review is ongoing into what the guards on duty did and didn’t do during the big incident in January. Judge Sweeney said, “Detention officers are responsible for the behavior of the kids. Just flat out.” When pressed by the I-Team about what the guards should have done, Sweeney said she couldn’t go into it with the investigation pending. She added, “No, no, it’s an ongoing thing.”

As the I-Team reported weeks ago, some management changes have already been made. That came after Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O’Malley called for better oversight at the lock-up.

Wednesday, community leaders also promised to do more for teen inmates.

Last year, the I-Team revealed guards taken off the job after throwing some kind of liquid at a teen. He had thrown urine at one of them.

As for the repairs, workers had more than $100,000 in damage to fix. They still have some ceiling tiles to replace, carpeting to replace, and a TV to replace.

Union leaders say they do need more guards and better training. And, they question how much is really new among the other steps announced by the county.

Judge Sweeney added, “There is always going to be tension when you take people who are violating the law and locking them up together.”

Union leaders are watching for any discipline against guards for what investigators have called “the riot,” and we’re watching, too.

Continuing coverage on this story.

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