Nashville Teens Escape Woodland Hills Again After "Overpowering" The Guards

You've got to admit, these adolescents are nothing if not persistent: late Friday, yet another set of Nashville teens escaped the Woodland Hills detention center, after apparently "overpowering" one of the guards, stealing his keys, and breaking out of the facility. Most have now been found and caught, but one determined youth still remains at large.

According to the Department of Children's Services live feed, the breakout from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center happened Friday night, at around 11 p.m. Several juvenile delinquents managed to steal a guard's radio and his keys by overwhelming somehow — easy to imagine, as it's only one guard for 12 youths — they then used the keys to open the security door to outer gate. One "staffer" was apparently hurt in the breakout, although details have yet to be released. After that, the thirteen youths somehow managed to get outside the security fence, but the DCS can't figure out how they did it.

It must be a frustrating situation for the guards. This is the third time in a month that over a dozen teenagers have managed to break out of the facility — the first time was, of course, back at the beginning of September, when 32 teens managed to get out by crawling through a hole in the security gate. Less than a week later, another 24 adolescents made a somewhat crazed stab at escaping, full-on attacking the guards with pipes, fire extinguishers, and sticks.

According to Nashville Public Radio, since these escapes, the DCS has tried to strengthen security by reinforcing the weak spots in the building, like the doors, windows, and fence. And it even managed to change its locking policy — which had allowed all teens access to the facility’s common areas — so that they're locked in their individual rooms.

But the policy that has yet to change is probably the one that would (sadly) make the most difference: as it stands, guards aren’t actually allowed to use weapons or Tasers on the kids. Instead, they're supposed to talk them down from whatever violence they're enacting — which is how it should be. They're juveniles, after all, and it's not like police brutality isn't the major issue of the year. But DCS Commissioner Jim Henry said earlier this month that the system might change so that guards are allowed weapons like stun guns to control the kids.

Most of the escapees, both from the earlier breakouts and from the most recent one, have now been caught. By Saturday morning, twelve of the 16-year-olds who escaped Friday night were back in custody, and taken to a juvenile court detention center. But one is still on the run, maybe hiding out with the two teens who remain at large after the Sep.1 breakout.

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