Lynchburg officials say new procedures are in place after juvenile offenders run off from program activity

City of LynchburgLynchburg  officials say new procedures are now in place for a city juvenile offender program after three juvenile detainees ran off last week from a program activity. All three have since been apprehended. It’s called the “Post-Dispositional Program”, and the event in this case was an outing at Riverside Park. City officials say the new procedures are intended to prevent a repeat occurrence.

(Continue reading to see the full Lynchburg City statement.)

On Thursday, August 11, 2016 at 1:36 p.m., eight juvenile detainees from the Lynchburg Post-Dispositional Program (Post-D) were attending a planned outing in Riverside Park under the supervision of a Youth Counselor.  Three of the detainees, one female, age 16, and two males, age 17, ran from the basketball court and into the woods. The Youth Counselor, following established procedure, immediately notified the Lynchburg Regional Juvenile Detention Center as well as the Lynchburg Police Department (LPD).  (From WLNI: all three have since been apprehended.)

The Post-Dispositional Program (Post-D) offers Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judges an option that meets both the juvenile’s need for rehabilitative services and the need to ensure public safety.  Lynchburg’s Post-D Program provides a dispositional alternative for court-ordered juvenile offenders who may benefit from local, short-term confinement and treatment.  The juveniles remain in the community in attempts to foster family and community involvement.  Typically, juveniles involved in the Post-D Program are non-violent offenders.

 

Following procedures, a Serious Incident Report was completed and forwarded to the State Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).  All other pertinent individuals involved with the three detainees were informed of the incident – the 24th and 10th Judicial District Court Services Units, DJJ Certification Unit, parents, Lynchburg Division of Social Services and Bedford County Department of Social Services.

 

On Friday, August 12, 2016, representatives from DJJ Certification Unit visited the Detention Center to review the incident to determine if any standards or procedures had been violated.  They concluded that no violations had occurred during this incident.
Although there were no violations, the Human Services Department will be taking the following actions immediately to minimize the potential for these types of incidents in the future:

  • At least two staff members will accompany juveniles from the Post-D Program during all planned community activities;
  • When there is a mixed group, a female youth counselor will accompany all female juveniles;
  • When appropriate, the department will reduce the number of juveniles who participate in community activities at one time;
  • The department will ensure continued dialogue with all individuals involved with the juveniles who participate in the Post-D Program; i.e., probation officers, counselors, parents, teachers, family services specialists, etc.

“Due to the fact that this incident involved juveniles and there are laws strictly governing the release of information pertaining to juveniles, no other information will be made available at this time,” said Human Services Director Tamara Rosser.  “We want to reduce the chance of this happening again.”

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