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Shuman juvenile center's license downgraded pending improvement plan

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By Bobby Kerlik

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013, 6:30 p.m.

The state Department of Public Welfare yanked the license of Shuman Juvenile Detention Center after the facility failed to adequately address regulatory violations DPW found this year, including a violent incident between a guard and an inmate.

The state on April 24 instead issued Shuman a provisional license, a downgrade, which gives the Lincoln-Lemington facility six months to improve. If that doesn't happen, the facility could get a second provisional license or lose its license entirely, state officials said.

“I'm disappointed, and I am awaiting Shuman's response to correct it,” county Manager William McKain said Friday. “(The state) gave us a provisional because they said there was inadequate progress on two items.”

Shuman Director William “Jack” Simmons declined to comment.

Simmons submitted plans April 5 to correct the violations, which stem in part from an incident Jan. 4 in which former detention Officer Ronald White is accused of assaulting a 16-year-old inmate. He was fired March 12. The state found that Shuman made inadequate progress to implement the corrections and downgraded the license. State officials did not specify how Shuman failed to comply.

The state inspected the facility Jan. 30, 31 and Feb. 2. DPW investigators wrote that Shuman officials waited four days to report the alleged physical abuse to the state, a violation of state law. Simmons wrote to the state that supervisors reported the incident as soon as they realized there was potential physical abuse.

The state's description of the incident is similar to an Allegheny County police affidavit that accused White of hitting inmate Taymar Young's head with a forearm from behind, into a metal door frame.

Police charged White, 43, of Braddock with simple assault and official oppression. Union officials filed a grievance in an effort to get White rehired. He awaits trial on the charges.

Simmons and Deputy Director Lynette Drawn-Williamson each received five-day, unpaid suspensions amid the state investigation.

The suspensions followed a March 8 report by the county manager that found apparent payroll discrepancies, allegations of favoritism on the job and problems with internal security at Shuman. McKain asked the Controller's Office to audit Shuman's payroll system and the Shuman Center Resident Fund, which solicits cash and donations for inmates.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


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