City hires new head of problem-plagued juvenile justice center - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

City hires new head of problem-plagued juvenile justice center


A new era has begun at the problem-plagued Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, which the mayor shut down after it almost lost its state license. The city hired a new superintendent to get the facility on track and ready to reopen.

It is starting all over again with the hiring of Rodney Baskerville.

"We look forward to opening a new facility, not reopening the facility but opening a new facility," he told us Friday.

The new superintendent has a long resume, including twenty years in local juvenile detention facilities. He was working in the area and heard about Richmond's issues including allegations of criminal activity and violations of policies in what became known as a culture of unethical behavior.

NBC12 asked Baskerville how he will prevent that from happening again. 

He responded, "I prevent it from happening through leadership. I have expectations when I come in. I want the highest quality of staff. I want people that are educated, that have experience but people that genuinely care about kids."

He'll start bringing in those 48 new counselors and 6 new supervisors in January. Baskerville says the new hires will have to deal with his hands-on management style.

"So when you're out and about and you're there and you're visible and they know your expectations, they're going to be on their a-game," he explained.

And if not, there will be consequences.

"People can make mistakes but there are certain mistakes that can't be made," Baskerville asserted.

Many of the structural and technical issues have already been fixed. New locks and cameras were installed, along with a touch screen system, which controls the doors and lights in each pod-cell.

The center will find out if it gets its license back at the June meeting of the state board.

Baskerville hopes to take in kids at the sixty-bed facility July first.

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