Sunday, October 5, 2014

Idaho Juvenile Corrections Director: 'I'm Profoundly Troubled by Allegations'

Posted By on Sun, Oct 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge IDJC Director Sharon Harrigfeld - IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION
  • Idaho Department of Correction
  • IDJC Director Sharon Harrigfeld

Saying that she is "profoundly troubled" by allegations that former staff at the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections sexually abused the youths that they were sworn to protect, the director of IDJC said she's preparing to fully cooperate with a federal inspection of her facility's operations.

In an open letter sent to newspapers throughout Idaho, IDJC Director Sharon Harrigfeld's comments came in the wake of a third abuse claim, alleging that another male inmate was sexually abused by staffers inside the detention center. The latest tort claim alleges that a 16-year-old boy was abused by two staffers, a detention center nurse and a medical assistant intern. The claim also alleges that the nurse intentionally left the inmate in an unlocked area where he and other juveniles had free access to prescription medications. The allegation accuses the nurse of intimidating the boy, saying no one would believe him if he reported the abuse.

In her published comments, Harrigfeld insists that there is new leadership at the Nampa detention center, which is "working every day to ensure what allegedly happened before will never happen again—in Nampa or any other Idaho Juvenile Corrections facility."

The U.S. Department of Justice is scheduled to send a team to inspect the facility within the next six months .

"It is important to note that the alleged incidents occurred several years ago, and that a number of significant steps have been taken to address those concerns and restore public confidence in Juvenile Corrections," wrote Harrigfeld. 

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