Riot in Adair County Leads to Abuse Investigations

November 18 2022 | Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
  • A riot that occurred at a juvenile detention center in Adair County is now drawing attention to potential abuse and human rights violations carried out by employees. On Friday, November 11th, at 9:40 PM, a riot broke out at the Adair Regional Detention Center in Columbia, KY. The original call was regarding a juvenile that attacked a staff member of the Detention Center and took their keys to release other detainees. Many staff members and juveniles were taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries. Local law enforcement officers were eventually able to enter the facility and restore order.

    The original call was sent to the Kentucky State Police (KSP), as this specific correctional facility is a maximum security juvenile detention center.

    “The riot by some of the juveniles at the Adair Juvenile Detention Center on Friday evening is unacceptable and the department will seek criminal charges against those involved,” Morgan Hall, a spokeswoman for the state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, said Saturday.

    Multiple law enforcement agencies have launched multiple investigations to determine why and how the disturbance happened. There is an active criminal investigation by the KSP on the juveniles to see if charges will be placed against them. There has also been other investigations opened by the Internal Investigations Branch of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice plans to conduct an in-depth review of the situation to determine if applicable policies were followed.

    With it being almost a week since the disturbance, additional information continues to come out. Allegedly, a teenage girl who was one of the juveniles in the facility, was sexually assaulted during the riot. Many former and current employees of the facility have come forward to shed a light on some of the conditions at the detention center, and have claimed that ‘the state should have seen this coming’.

    A former registered nurse at the facility, Joanne Alvarado, did an interview with WAVE News and discussed reasons as to why she left. Most of the reasons she, and two other nurses, had resigned, had to do with the poor treatment of the juveniles. She described conditions as ‘abusive, cruel and criminal’ according to WAVE. Other former nurses report juveniles being deprived of food, in one case for three days, staff members physically abusing detainees, nurses being blocked from providing treatment for injured detainees, teens not being allowed to shower, and multiple other troubling conditions that employees are categorizing as ‘civil rights violations’.

    The issues at the facility were not limited to physical abuse, according to Alvarado, but also mental abuse. Phone use was restricted or outright forbidden, preventing minors from contacting loved ones or attorneys. Students were not receiving their schooling. Female teens were being placed in the same blocks as males. It was also stated that the ’24-hour isolation’ period that was being reported sometimes ended up lasting a week. Teens were consistently being placed in isolation for a week with no sound or light, and guards were instructed not to speak to them.

    With multiple riots happening in facilities recently, many investigations of the conditions and treatment of inmates have been launched. Concerns are being raised by public officials and Jason Nemus, a State Representative. Kerry Harvey, the Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, was said to have blamed most of the issues on low staffing levels. However, Alvarado believes staffing not to be the problem, but rather lack of management by the Department of Juvenile Justice leadership on the supervisors of these facilities.

    This specific detention center goes by another name, the Adair Youth Development Center. However, with the accusations of civil rights violations and mistreatment of minors, AKA children, it seems as though there is very little development going on here. These inmates being deprived of basic human needs are kids, and the people depriving them of these needs are the adults who hold all of the power.

    The alleged wrongdoings and misconduct at the hands of management and staff indicate a serious issue within our justice system. Kentucky’s youth development centers were created with an emphasis on treatment in order to help struggling juveniles get on a better path. Regardless of the actions that resulted in their placement in these facilities, Kentucky’s children should not be treated this way, especially by adults.

    As more information about the conditions at the Adair Juvenile Detention Center come to light, our personal injury lawyers will be investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and human rights violations against the youths housed there. If you or someone you love was housed or lodged in the Adair County Youth Development Center as a teenager and suffered abuse, neglect, or had your rights violated, our team is here to help. We work on a contingency basis, which means you won’t pay anything to work with our team unless we are able to recover compensation for you. There’s no obligation, and our consultation is free. No human should have to live in these conditions, especially our youth.


    Call 800-800-4600 to speak with a compassionate member of our team. We will fight to ensure you are fairly compensated for the wrongdoings of staff members and supervisors at the facility.

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