Judge wants an overhaul of juvenile facilities around the state

LAS VEGAS -- Kids hog-tied and left alone in isolation rooms. Some Clark County kids have come forward saying that has happened to them at the Nevada Youth Training Center, a juvenile center in Elko.

State administrators say they stopped the practice in December, but one Clark County Family Court judge says more oversight is still needed.

State administrators say kids were put into mechanical restraints 35 times since January 2013 in the Elko facility. Some may have been hog-tied.

Now, one judge is asking for an overhaul of the culture in youth correctional facilities.

Kids handcuffed at the wrist and bound at the ankle, unable to stand up or move. Judge William Voy says they were left alone in isolation rooms.

The details come just days after Judge Voy pulled 12 local kids out of the Nevada Youth Training Center in Elko.

"The fact that it was being used at all was the issue," Judge Voy said.

Voy says the hog-tying or hobbling practice was being used unnecessarily in some cases by NYTC correctional officers.

"Seems to me, that there were a lot of times that they could have de-escalated the situation a lot easier than doing what they did," Voy said.

State administrators now say the Elko facility was plagued with violent outbursts when they implemented hobbling. They say it was for the kids' safety.

"We had a high number of incidents of assault on staff, assault on youth and attempts to escape at that time," Department of Child and Family Services deputy administrator Steven McBride said.

Judge Voy is now demanding more outside oversight of all state youth correctional facilities. So far, all use-of-force incidents have only been investigated internally.

"I have some questions of, did they really need to go there? And that is the concern in practice," the judge said.

McBride says facilities are no longer doing this, but didn't say why. He also says they've hired an outside group of youth correctional facility experts to come in an evaluate NYTC.

While the state isn't obligated to follow their recommendations, McBride says they most likely will, which is something chief district attorney Brigid Duffy is on board with.

"I think it's a great idea to have that oversight," Duffy said.

The new head of the Department of Health and Human Services is also pledging to overhaul how correctional officer interact with youth offenders, but says there's no plan in place yet.

8 News Now has asked for the specific incident reports where children were hog-tied with the kids' names removed to get both sides of this story. However, we were told to get a court order to obtain those reports as they are confidential.


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