Teens moved following massive riot at youth facility; DCS withholding information

Teens displaced following massive riot at youth facility; DCS withholding information

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - An unknown number of teenagers have been moved from a juvenile delinquent facility following a riot Sunday night.

Wilder is operated by the Department of Children’s Services and houses teens who have been convicted of serious if not violent crimes.

According to affidavits obtained by WMC Action News 5 Investigators Tuesday, dozens of youth broke out of their assigned pods and caused more than $100,000 in damage to the facility.

Eleven 18-year-olds were arrested and charged with rioting, escaping custody and vandalism. They are being held at the Fayette County Jail.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office said five teens from Wilder are being held temporarily at its juvenile detention facility in Memphis.

Davidson County said it was asked to hold some teens temporarily but couldn't because its detention facility was at capacity.

DCS would not tell WMC where the others teens are located, citing state confidentiality laws, or why they were moved.

Mother of teen involved in Wilder Youth Facility incident speaks out

Some parents of teens involved in Sunday’s riot said no one from DCS is talking to them, either.

"No one has called me," said Shana Royster. Her son, 18-year-old JaShun Robertson, was arrested Sunday. She didn't know until she saw his mug shot on the news.

Royster said in the past, Wilder employees have contacted her to set up counseling sessions with her son and to update her on his progress.

"They've been contacting us so why not now?" Royster asked.

Royster's son landed at Wilder for stealing cars. She believes her son and others may have been provoked to violence.

During a call with her son two weeks ago, Royster says he described verbal abuse by the guards.

"He said 'Mom, they say hurtful things to us. That we'll never make it out and if or when we make it out, we won't live long.' Things like that to discourage them," said Royster.

State law requires that one guard be on duty per eight teens at Wilder while they’re awake. For a second day, DCS has not revealed how many guards were on duty the night the teens escaped their cells, citing an internal investigation.

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