Disruption at DJJ leaves employee injured, property damaged

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) —

A disturbance at The Department of Juvenile Justice Complex on Broad River Road has left one staff member and one youth injured.

At around 9am, multiple juveniles at DJJ’s Birchwood School broke away from their campus and assaulted a staff member.

The juveniles also confiscated hammers and damaged multiple vehicles and other property during the disturbance.

SLED and other law enforcement officials were called in to stop further harm or damage from happening and to get control of the situation.

Adam Douglas’s mother works inside the DJJ complex.

“This time, she was actually close. The inmates broke through a window in my mom’s office, and then she had to kind of go to safety in a bathroom and they were stuck in a bathroom for two hours. And then she had to go from the bathroom to the chapel,” says Douglas.

Douglas says he believes this is the fifth time an incident has occurred at DJJ while his mother has worked there, and believes changes in security need to be made.

“I just had the thought of– if my mom got hurt I don’t know what I would’ve done today. Today could’ve been the day I lost my mom or she could’ve got hurt. So I feel like the security needs to be bumped up, especially the DJJ self-security. They’re just too laid back and relaxed because I come up here plenty of times and see my mom on lunch and I just see how security is. It just…it should be better…way better,” says Douglas.

Kezia Jordan’s mother works for the DJJ on Broad River Road as well.

“She was shaking, she was crying, she did say they had to recover them and recoup them from the bathroom. And take them to the chapel where they were safe. They were letting everybody know that no one could go until the premises were clear,” says Jordan.

“I would like to see security being heavy. The same type of security you see in the prison needs to be here for the juveniles. Just because they’re juveniles — they take that very lightly. I think they take that just because they’re 17 that they’re not capable. You have certain kids who are sick, who have broken families, who have different motives, and they could cause any type (of harm or damage),” says Jordan.

The staff member was treated for injuries at the hospital and both the staff member and youth’s injuries were non-life threatening.

SLED is currently conducting interviews and continues to investigate the situation.

Categories: Local News, News, Richland