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State's only maximum security juvenile correction center closing | News

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State's only maximum security juvenile correction center closing

NORTH LAS VEGAS -- Red Rock Academy, a juvenile correction facility, is closing after multiple inspections found dozens of youths were not being adequately protected by the private contractor running the facility.

Nevada's only maximum security juvenile correction center is located in North Las Vegas and less than six months after a state audit, the facility is now shutting down.

A joint operation between a private contractor called Rite of Passage and the State Division of Child and Family Services took over the facility two years. Rite of Passage won a bid to run the facility in 2013.

The facility used to be Summit View Correctional Center. Back in 2001, inmates rioted on the roof of that facility following allegations of sexual abuse and filthy living conditions.

Some families were asked to pick up their teenage inmates from the facility early Wednesday.

Dustin Jardine says about 24 hours ago he got a call from officials at Red Rock Academy telling him to pick up his 17-year-old nephew, Arie. Jardine says he never received a straight answer for the reason of his nephew's release.

“They never gave me any news about it closing down,” said Jardine. “His exact word is that something is going on that I can't really explain to you.”

8 News NOW reached out to the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services. The spokesperson told us the agency has reached a quote “amicable agreement” to end the contract with Rite of Passage.

Last fall, a legislative audit was done on the facility. State lawmakers found serious flaws with Red Rock Academy. The audit found mistakes in medication procedures, improper staffing levels and inmates possessing dangerous objects.

“I did not support this facility from the beginning,” said Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton. “I had serious concerns and this report just gives me even more concerns.”

Deputy Legislative Auditor Sandra McGuirk said the dangerous objects the inmates possessed were “sharp objects that can be used as weapons such as pipes, screws and a broken piece of plexiglass.”

As to where the young inmates will go now, state spokesperson Chrystal Main said there is a “transitional plan” in place.

Jardine said he didn't hear of any problems from his nephew before, but as a former juvenile detention inmate himself he said it's possible he's not getting the whole story.

“There comes a point when you are accustomed to where you are at, where you are living,” said Jardine. “Maybe he's okay with what's going on; what he thinks was supposed to be happening.”

8 News NOW reached out to the executive director at Rite of Passage by phone. He would not agree to an interview, but said that since the audit, he has shown proof to the state he made safety changes to the facility.

He also said Red Rock Academy inmates who have demonstrated “progress” will be sent back to their families, while others will be transferred to other correctional centers.

Rite of Passage also runs a juvenile center near Yerington where four riots have occurred since December. The state pulled all youths in its custody from that facility last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.