Feds asked to investigate the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Is Richmond dragging its feet when it comes to fixing problems at the Juvenile Detention Center? The NAACP says "yes" and is calling on the federal government to intervene.

Six months ago the NAACP brought to light some of the safety problems at the detention center. The organization says many of those maintenance and security issues still exist -- so the group is now asking the Justice Department and the Attorney General to intervene.

The Richmond Juvenile Detention Center is under fire. For months employees have complained about broken locks, doors, and security cameras.

The State Department of Juvenile Justice placed the detention center on probation. Management at the center, as well as Richmond City Mayor Dwight Jones -- vowed to correct the problems. But the NAACP says progress isn't being made fast enough.

"Maybe the feds can speed things up maybe the attorney general can speed things up," said King Salim Khalfan, Executive Director of the Richmond Chapter of the NAACP.

The NAACP announced it has officially called on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice for help.

"The residents and staff deserve better and these issues need to be taken seriously in a tier 1 city," Khalfan added.

A spokesperson for the mayor has said, "The city is on track with planned improvements and expects them completed by April"

The city released documents outlining a corrective action plan. In the paperwork, there's a February 27th date for defective monitors to be replaced and software to be installed. And a March 5th date to have the intercom system fully functional.

The city has not confirmed if work for those dates have been met.

Meanwhile, the NAACP says if it can't get the Attorney General or the feds to respond it will seek help elsewhere.

"We'll have to go to congressional reps, senators, the president whomever --somebody is going to get this dumped fixed," Khalfan said. 

The State Department of Juvenile Justice has given the city an April 12th deadline date to correct the problems. Today I requested from the city an outline of exactly what has been fixed at the detention center. At this hour I have not received that information. 

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