September 18 – Nine teenagers broke out of Abraxas Academy in Morgantown, PA on Sunday night. All nine had been captured by this morning.
The teenagers, ranging in age from 15 to 19, overpowered two guards, took the keys and got out of the detention center.
The facility is like the one in our own backyard in South Mountain.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “These are juvenile detention facilities and these are contracted, they’re a third-party vendor that a county government or some other agency would contract the services for. It’s remarkable because we just went through this last week with that other fugitive out of the Chester County Jail and we know the cost, obviously there’s a danger to society, but just the cost that the county and local and state government will incur looking for these escaped juveniles. So it’s just an unfortunate situation.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “I also want to point out that that was the facility that had the big riot in July. Now nobody escaped in that riot, but the staff members were hurt. All kinds of damage was done to the facility. So now we have the same facility, yet another riot, more staff members hurt. We don’t know how badly or to what extent, but that was reported. Maybe we have to look at some of this reparative justice because I wonder if these facilities, these Abraxas facilities, 14 to 18 year old juvenile delinquent males, some sexual assault, some other kinds of crimes, are we maybe counting on social workers to do too much and putting them in harm’s way by this reparative justice? Or is this a consequence of just a society where people are more willing to use violence and look at each other in a dehumanizing way?”
Barkdoll said, “These third party vendors, this is a controversy in America, whether it’s a private vendor managing a jail or in these cases a third party vendor more or less managing juvenile detention services. I would imagine the Chester County Commissioners based on what happened last year and now this weekend, might they look at pulling the Abraxas contract? What are the staffing ratios at that facility compared to the number of juveniles that are in detention? Is that contributing to what looks like an ongoing problem out there, but something has to be done. They can’t keep having riots and escapees from these kinds of facilities. Everyone loses when this happens.”
Then there’s the story of a 17-year-old in Las Vegas who deliberately hit a retired police officer on a bike with his car in the middle of August. The officer died and the child has been charged with murder.
Video shows the 17-year-old laughing after the hit and run. What is going on in this country?
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM suggested, “Let’s meet the parents of this monster. Let’s see what the background is on this thug. They filmed it. It’s heartbreaking.”
Jansen said, “We’re seeing targeted violence against police and when are we going to start really looking at this stuff and doing something about it?”
Barkdoll said, “He was in plain clothes. I don’t think these kids knew that he was a law enforcement person. But what’s awful about it is they have it on tape, where they’re deliberately doing this. The car is coming up on him. He’s riding his bike along the bike lane on the road, and they’re saying things that are clearly intentionally moving up to hit him, to scare him and of course they end up killing him. So those kids need to be charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Amen,” Ryan agreed. “Amen and let’s see mommy and daddy march their little treasured, miserable piece of debris into the courtroom. I’m not interested in any more excuses. That guy deserves to be enjoying his bike ride and enjoying his retirement as all of us need to be enjoying our lives without the threat of some of this just filth out there that it’s not being held accountable and just unleashed into the community over and over and over again to do some terrible, terrible damage. It’s a heartbreaking story.”