Riot at Kentucky juvenile detention center leaves several people injured

Published 10:00 pm Saturday, November 12, 2022

Several young people and staff were wounded when a riot broke out in a maximum-security juvenile detention center in Kentucky, authorities said Saturday.

The disturbance began Friday night when a juvenile assaulted a staff member, took the employee’s keys and released other juveniles from their cells at the Adair Regional Detention Center, Kentucky State Police said.

Authorities did not provide details about the nature or severity of the injuries, or how long it took to bring the episode to an end.

Order was restored after state police troopers and other law enforcement officers entered the facility, located in Adair County in south-central Kentucky, state police said in a news release. State police got the call for help at around 9:40 p.m. Friday.

“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.

State police are leading the criminal investigation into the disturbance. Charges against the juveniles allegedly involved are pending further investigation, police said Saturday. Trooper Jonathan Houk, a state police spokesman, declined further comment, saying the information in the release was all he could provide at the time.

Authorities did not say how many young people were involved in the riot. Youths remained in custody at the facility following the disturbance, Hall said.

In addition to the criminal investigation, another investigation has been opened by the Internal Investigations Branch of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Hall said.

The Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice will “conduct a thorough review to determine if applicable policies were followed and identify further actions that should be taken,” Hall said.

The people wounded in the riot were taken to a hospital for treatment, state police said. Columbia, the seat of Adair County, is about 103 miles (165 kilometers) southeast of Louisville, Kentucky.

This is at least the second riot at a juvenile detention facility in Kentucky in recent months, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Saturday. In August, youths at the Warren Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Bowling Green did a significant amount of damage to the facility on the night of Aug. 20, but no one was injured.

Under Kentucky law, any youth between the ages of 11-18 may be ordered by a judge to be held at a state juvenile detention center.