Officials tour Richmond Juvenile Center, sign off on re-open

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–The cell door locks are working, the intercom system is operational, and security cameras have been upgraded inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention center.

“We’re ready,” said Rodney Baskerville, Superintendent, Richmond Juvenile Detention center.

In April of last year, Mayor Dwight Jones shut down the detention center, following allegations—first brought to light by the NAACP–of broken equipment, lack of staff training, and improper care of the residents.

City Council President Charles Samuels toured the facility Thursday.  After a close-up inspection, he says it is clear that major changes have been made.

“It is a complete 180 degree turnover.  The physical problems that were here are no longer here.  The bricks and mortar problems have been fixed,” said Samuels, President.

As a result of the closure 72 employees were impacted. But at least five original staff members are coming back.

“There were no issues with these employees.  They had clean personnel records.  They were qualified employees,” Baskerville said.

CBS 6 obtained this court document showing one of the Detention Center’s Supervisors was recently charged with Driving While Intoxicated.  His job requires him to have a valid Driver’s license.

“This was reported and it’s being handled by the important people in personnel…in HR,” said Baskerville, when questioned about the situation.

Superintendent Rodney Baskerville said the incident happened a month after the employee was hired.  And he said the job doesn’t require the Supervisor to do any driving.

He added that they are closely monitoring the situation.

“We will do our due diligence to handle it and to make sure that we do the things that are needed here at the Richmond Detention center to correct those actions if they’re inappropriate.  If there’s somebody that does not need to be here those things will be handled appropriately,” said Baskerville.

Baskerville told CBS 6 that all of the detention center staff, like supervisors and youth counselors, have gone through the required 120 hours of training.  And he said they’ve also received extensive ethics training.

The 39 juveniles who were transferred to other facilities around the state are expected to return to the Richmond Detention center when it reopens on Monday.