December 21st, 2022
Today, I asked the Monroe County Office of Public Integrity (OPI) to review and recommend changes to the policies, procedures, enhanced staff training and organization of the Monroe County Children’s Detention Center in order to address the changing nature of the center’s population. Concurrently, the county will initiate a search for a new CDC Director who would implement the new structure and procedures.
In the past few months, two county employees at the CDC were reported to law enforcement for alleged inappropriate conduct and for endangering the welfare of minors. As per policy, both incidents were immediately reported to the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs — which then engaged the police. Both employees were arrested and are no longer employed by the county. One former employee was arraigned today in Brighton Town Court.
The adolescent offenders at the CDC are older, more numerous and the nature of their alleged offenses are more violent. There are many juveniles at the CDC awaiting trial for homicide, assault and illegal gun charges. Overseeing adolescent offenders will require a public safety focus in hiring and training of CDC staff.
It may be no longer be appropriate for the CDC to be overseen by the Department of Human Services. The health and safety of both the juveniles residing at the CDC and the Monroe County employees working there are paramount. In the next 90 days, OPI will report on its review and make recommendations on where in county government the CDC should be organizationally aligned.
We will not tolerate violence at the CDC — and that goes both ways — on the part of county employees as well as for the juveniles detained there.
(NOTE: Department of Human Services Commissioner Thalia Wright will be available for interviews.)