- Associated Press - Thursday, April 13, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Children in the care of the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs will no longer be exposed to pepper spray.

Members of the Board of Juvenile Affairs voted unanimously Wednesday to stop using the spray on children, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/2pcQag0 ) reported. The decision will be in effect by June 1.

“They’ve been traumatized by their parents, by their communities and a variety of things,” said Terry Smith, deputy director of resident placement and support. “They come to us, and what they need in my opinion is a home life that they can trust and begin to develop relationships.”

Smith said after reviewing surveillance video showing staff using the spray, he determined it was being used on an individual basis and not to stop riots or large scale outbursts.

“The worst thing that we can do is use force upon these kids, and absolutely the worst thing we can do, in my opinion, is spray these kids,” Smith said.

Pepper spray use was first approved after a 2011 riot at the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh. No riots have occurred since.

“Riots do not happen as a result of violent juveniles,” Smith said. “Riots happen because of poor management.”

Executive Director Steve Buck said the agency’s two certified officers will soon be sent to crisis intervention, which teaches officers how to deescalate situations involving mental illness or distress. Staffers will then be taught alternative techniques to use-of-force policies by the officers.

___

Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide