NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A violent disturbance involving 28 teens and injuring two staff members broke out Wednesday night at a Nashville juvenile detention center — the same facility where dozens of detainees escaped from the yard just two nights earlier.
About 28 teens — some of whom were part of the breakout at — got out of their dorms and were roaming the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center’s campus Wednesday night, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services spokesman Rob Johnson said. The teens kicked out metal panels underneath the windows in a common area to reach the yard, the same tactic used in the breakout, Johnson said. This time, police formed a ring around the center’s perimeter fence to try to prevent another escape.
Video shot by Nashville station WTVF showed teens chasing and assaulting a man who appeared to be a staff member at the detention center. Photos published by Nashville newspaper The Tennessean showed teens in the detention center yard carrying sticks. One photo showed someone spraying a fire extinguisher.
Two staff members at the center suffered minor injuries, Johnson said.
Teams from the Tennessee Department of Correction entered the detention center early Thursday and took the teens into custody. Ten ringleaders of the incident were identified and brought to another detention center, Johnson said. The rest were returned to their dorms.
More than 30 teens escaped from the detention center Monday night. Officials said slipped out under a weak spot in the perimeter fence. Six of them remained at large Thursday. The others were recaptured — some found by authorities, others turning themselves in, and still others turned in by their parents.
Johnson said that officials had begun repairing and reinforcing the panels that had been kicked out and that they will try to get concrete put at the bottom of the perimeter fence.
The detention center has a long history of violence, allegations of sexual abuse and previous efforts to escape. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice ranked Woodland Hills as 13th in the country among juvenile facilities where there had been reports of sexual abuse by staffers.
In a 2004 breakout attempt, more than a dozen teens armed with broom handles and hurling bricks injured 16 staffers before they were dispersed by police in riot gear.