NASHVILLE - A security audit will be performed on all three of the state's youth development centers after a recent breakout and violence at the facility in Middle Tennessee, according to a preliminary report sent to the governor.
The Department of Children's Services sent the report to Gov. Bill Haslam on Friday after 32 teens escaped from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville on the night of Sept. 1. Just two nights later, two dozen detainees broke into the yard wielding sticks and spraying a fire extinguisher.
"We wanted to give the governor an idea of where things stood," DCS spokesman Rob Johnson told The Associated Press on Monday. "We're focusing on how we can make the facility more secure and more safe."
According to officials, the 32 teens who escaped Woodland Hills found a weak spot in the fence surrounding the yard and broke out. Two of the teens were arrested Tuesday afternoon, Johnson said. Three were still at large and the rest have returned.
On Tuesday, eight of those who escaped and were recaptured pleaded guilty to misdemeanor escape in Davidson County General Sessions Court and were sentenced to 11 months and 29 days in jail.
"We want what's best for these young people; we want them to get better," Assistant District Attorney General Stacy Miller told reporters outside the courtroom.
"But in order for them to get better they've got to remain in the treatment center. If they escape, they will be prosecuted accordingly."
Last Wednesday night, about 24 teens - some of whom were part of the breakout - reached the yard. This time, police formed a ring around the center's fence, and no one escaped.
In its report to the governor, DCS said the fence has been repaired and "concrete is being poured at the base ... to secure the fencing."