DJJ camp abuse claims prompt possible charges


The Department of Juvenile Justice is currently investigating Camp White Pines in Jonesville after a teen claims that was he was beaten by counselors and peers.

DJJ says that if those claims are founded through the investigation, there could be several people with charges.

Today 7News reporter Brianna Smith sat down with DJJ Director Sylvia Murray to discuss the investigation and possible changes to the DJJ system.

SC DJJ has 20 camps that work with private contractors to house juvenile offenders. Camp White Pines in Jonesville is run by AMI Kids. Staff and procedures at the camp are all operated by AMI Kids and the kids are sent to the camp through the DJJ system.

Now DJJ says that they are evaluating the 20-year relationship with AMI and all private providers that they work with.

There are 7 state program monitors that inspect all 20 camps monthly and they also say they visit camps unannounced frequently. Parole officers are also making frequent visits to camps.

DJJ says that they possibly could have caught incidents, like the alleged abuse through a monitoring visit.

We learned 11 teens have escaped Camp White Pines since 2013. According to DJJ policy, the camp is to call local law enforcement immediately after a teen is missing. Union County Sheriff David Taylor says he has only been notified about 3 incidents in the past 4 years.

“Well that is not the protocol that should have been used for that facility,” said Murray.

The Excalibur facility in the Travelers Rest area of Greenville County houses some of the state’s most aggressive teens. They also do not have a fence and have had 43 escapes in the past 3 years.

“We actually had a meeting last week, about what we can put in at each place to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Murray.

Camp White Pines may also see some changes in management, according to Murray.

Related Links:

DJJ investigating violent escape at White Pines Camp in Union Co.

DJJ investigating abuse allegations at camp

Union Co. DJJ camp threatened during abuse investigation

Teen who escaped from DJJ custody found in Spartanburg Co. hotel

2nd Teen Escapes Union Co. DJJ Camp

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