Justice Department investigators visited Tryon center in June.
By JAMES M. ODATO, Capitol bureau First published:
Friday, August 8, 2008
ALBANY -- Two years after the death of a 15-year-old boy at a youth detention center in Fulton County, the U.S. Department of Justice has begun a civil rights investigation.
Justice Department spokeswoman Jamie Hais and state Office of Children and Family Services spokesman Edward Borges confirmed the investigation Thursday, but they wouldn't say if the probe relates to the teen's 2006 death after being restrained by staff at the Tryon Boys Residential Center in Perth.
Hais said the special litigation section of the Justice Department's civil rights division, charged with protecting institutionalized people, is assigned the case.
Borges said the federal agency informed the state in December that it intended to look into conditions at Tryon. Investigators came in late June and informed the state that they'll be back soon. Discovery began in March, Borges said.
Public Employees Federation spokeswoman Darcy Wells said the Tryon facility has had an ongoing problem of employee abuse by inmates. She said several workers are out on workers' compensation because of confrontations with the youths in their charge. She blamed recent state policies that restrict the ability to restrain young people.
Borges said that since 2007, Commissioner Gladys Carrion has changed the policy for dealing with young people at the various rehabilitation centers, calling for an end to excessive restraint techniques. Her initiatives have been met with resistance by staff.
Facility where teen died faces federal probe -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY