**Watch prior coverage of an Oct. 22 standoff at Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility in the player above.
MASSILLON, Ohio (WJW) — State youth corrections workers at Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility will soon have new body-worn cameras and pepper spray.
The approval of new tools comes about two weeks after a “contained barricade incident” at the youth correctional facility and another incident at a separate location in Indian River the same day, in which a department worker was assaulted by an incarcerated juvenile and taken to a hospital.
Ohio Department of Youth Services Director Amy Ast made the announcement in a Friday memo to workers.
“Because of your good work, approximately 80% of our youth have not been involved in acts of violence on our staff or on their peers,” Ast wrote.
“That being said, the remaining 15%-20% of youth in our custody present a continuing concern, especially given the increase in serious and targeted assaults we’ve been experiencing.”
The department this week finalized its body-worn camera policy and will begin training Indian River staff in their use “in the coming weeks.” The department will receive more cameras for its other two facilities, which are in Highland Hills and Circleville.
“The desired outcome of introducing body worn cameras will be to promote safety and transparency, but more importantly, it will illustrate and capture events from the perspective of our staff,” the memo reads.
The department is also expected to review its use-of-force policies for pepper spray, and later approve a training program and plan for implementation, according to the memo.
“Research has shown in environments like ours, the use of [oleoresin capsicum] spray is much safer than physical restraint,” reads the memo. “The use of OC spray will reduce injuries to staff and youth, as well as reduce the frequency of staff being off work due to physical restraint injuries.”
Read the full memo below:
The 40-acre facility along Indian River Road houses felony-level offenders between the ages of 10 and 21, according to the department. In 2019, the facility had an average population of 155 male juvenile offenders, with 271 staff members, according to an inspection report.