By: Rev. Vincent Jemes
Chief of Community Building for Metro Louisville
I am Rev. Vincent James, Louisville Metro's Chief of Community Building. One of the agencies that reports to me is Youth Detention Services, which was the focus of -- what is in my opinion -- an unfair, sensationalized series by this station last week.
Using an audit that YDS sought in an effort to improve its operations, and the word of a disgruntled former employee, WDRB's report made allegations of cover up, abuse and mismanagement. It unfairly linked YDS to recent murders, and drew inconsistently from interviews and documents that we provided in an effort to be transparent.
Here's the truth: YDS houses youths charged with felony crimes, while they await disposition of their trials. YDS does not control who comes in, how long they stay or how they leave, including whether they are on Home Incarceration. We run this center as a state contractor, and our state funding has been cut.
Still, YDS scored 99.5 percent on its most recent required audit, and is working on recommendations from the other audit -- a fact that WDRB only touched on in the last of its pieces.
Kentucky's juvenile justice system is flawed. YDS should be part of the fix. But it's grossly unfair to blame all of the system's ills on one agency. This is a community issue. We all need to be part of the solution. I invite you to go to louisvilleky.gov/betheone to see how you can help.
YDS' hardworking staff is doing their part, dealing with our most troubled kids at some of the most difficult times in their lives. It is a tough job. But they do it with compassion and professionalism.
It's disappointing that this station did not extend the same to them.
I'm Reverend Vincent James and that is my point of view.
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