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Juveniles at Augusta RYDC Overpower Guards & Damage Facility


Over two dozen juveniles overpowered guards, escaped their units, assaulted other inmates and trashed the Augusta Regional Youth Detention Center last month, according to a report released Tuesday.

The April 26 incident is detailed in a heavily-redacted report that was released under the Georgia Open Records Law. It describes a near-riot at the juvenile facility on Mike Padgett Highway after a single youth took a guard’s keys and let out two dozen other inmates.

Juvenile Corrections Officer Shanya Herrington was posted on the 300 pod just after 11 p.m. April 26 when she opened an inmate’s door, the report says. The boy then pushed her and came out of his room, according to the report.

“The youth then grabbed me as we tussled for several seconds until he took my keys,” Officer Herrington wrote in the report.

The guard then called for assistance while the youth opened all the other inmate’s doors in the unit. A lieutenant and officer arrived to help and tried to stop the juveniles from exiting the unit, but they were unsuccessful. So they called Facility Director Latoya Wilson at home.

“A total of 25 (youths) ran from unit to unit, trashing the areas, breaking items to be used as weapons, damaging state property to include water fountains, tables, file cabinets and (more),” the report says. “Youth also ran over to the school areas and stole snacks, a cordless phone and a laptop.”

During the uprising, four youths were assaulted, including one who had to be taken to an emergency room.

More than an hour and a half after Officer Herrington had her keys taken, the Smart Team entered the facility and began securing the youth back into their rooms, which took about a half hour and ended at 1:20 a.m. April 27.

The Department of Juvenile Justice did not issue any press release on the youth revolt and damage. Tuesday’s release of the report by DJJ Senior Staff Attorney Jajuana Dewberry was accompanied by this warning, “We wanted to inform you that the provided report is the officer’s initial report of the incident.  The content of the report haven’t been verified due to the ongoing investigation.”

The incident comes just a month after two inmates from the facility – 15-year-old Corinthian Newton and 14-year-old Brandon Davis – escaped from a police truck on their way back to Augusta RYDC from court in Bulloch County.

The teens complained about the heat and got a Jenkins County deputy to open the partition of the police truck.  That’s when they were able to get a hold of a deputy’s gun and pistol-whip the officer, authorities said.

The pair also fired off a round and ran into the woods, eluding police for several hours as they ran a couple miles. They were eventually located in a storage container at the end of Ponderosa Road and recaptured without incident, authorities said.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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