County Moving Violent Offenders Out Of Juvenile System

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The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor is taking steps to protect inmates at the county's juvenile detention center. Prosecutor Timothy McGinty says his office is moving eight of the facility's most violent inmates to the county jail.

Last month Kristin Sweeney issued a warning about an increase of violence in the juvenile court system. She's the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court administrative judge.

“I have a very big concern over violence in the detention center, because any level of violence is too much,” Sweeney said.

One of the problems Sweeney mentioned was a law allowing juvenile offenders to stay in juvenile detention, even after they turn 18.

Ideastream’s Tony Ganzer found out more about the law's effect, and today's announcement, from Duane Deskins, chief of the county prosecutor's juvenile justice division.

“The numbers suggest that one of the things the law has done is that it takes these cases, and these individuals are here much longer than they were prior to the enactment of the law, so that their cases— they were being transferred downtown and not lingering in the detention center,” Deskins said.

“And as a result of that change in the law these same individuals are here much longer than prior to the law’s enactment. And so, again, we’re trying to get these people who are creating a danger to the life or health of the other juveniles or the staff down there, and have them moved out.”

Dealing with violence in the juvenile detention system is part of a broader process, Deskins said, tying in various policy and concrete measures to make the system safer.

“It is part of a broader review. But we are certainly going to make a focus of our effort to do what we can to improve that violence at all levels, both with training, with programmatic adjustments, and with these kind of procedural enforcement matters to clear out and make safe the detention center,” Deskins said.

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