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State releases scathing audit of juvenile facility | News

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State releases scathing audit of juvenile facility

LAS VEGAS -- State auditors have uncovered serious flaws at a local juvenile detention facility, including kids not getting the right medication and others stealing tools, which they used to escape.

Inspectors recently investigated Red Rock Academy, which has been open for less than a year and hosts around 90 kids. It is a correctional facility run by both the Division of Child and Family Services and private company Rite of Passage.

The academy is on the former campus of Summit View, where conditions were so bad, kids rioted on the roof back in 2001. Now, there are new problems that state lawmakers say need addressing.

"We don't have enough time this afternoon for all the questions that I have," Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-District 14, said.

Auditors discovered employees who did not go through proper background checks. The facility was found to be too lenient in who they allowed to work there.

Auditors also found kids had dangerous objects.

"Sharp objects that could be used as weapons such as pipes, screws, and a broken piece of Plexiglas," deputy legislative auditor Sandra McGuirk said.

Auditors also discovered staffers weren't keeping track of tools in the facility. Just months ago, three kids used tools to escape the facility.

State lawmakers expressed their dismay at this breach of security.

"The lack of control on the tools and then the kids use the tools to escape. That just shows you how smart they are." Assemblywoman Carlton said.

The audit also found that staffing levels were also non-compliant. Auditors found 98 instances where ratios were above one staffer per eight kids. In some cases, it got as high as one staffer per 18 kids.

When it comes to doling out medication to kids, there were further problems.

"Over and over again, I keep hearing about administration medication procedures, it seems like every single facility, this is one of the problems," Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, D – District 30, said.

Out of 15 files for kids on medications, 12 contained errors. In one case, medications were administered twice on the same day. In another, a child was given twice the prescribed dosage for eight days.

"I did not support this facility from the beginning. I had serious concerns and this report just gives me even more concerns," Carlton said.

Red Rock Academy administrators said they are working toward solutions. They said they have fixed 90 percent of the problems since the audit.

But lawmakers are not satisfied and are considering severing their contract if conditions do not improve.