The director of Idaho’s Department of Juvenile Corrections has released a statement on the recent lawsuit filed by 13 employees of a detention facility in Nampa.
The employees are suing the state, as well as department director Sharon Harrigfeld and the superintendent of the Nampa facility, Betty Grimm. The workers have accused administrators of ignoring their requests to make the center safer. Employees say sexual assaults have been ignored, juveniles have too much contraband, staff members are inept, and that the higher-ups have played golf on state time.
In her statement, Harrigfeld says she is confident that staff and procedures in place focus on the safety and protection of juveniles in the state’s custody. She goes on to say that when allegations of misconduct are raised, they are investigated and appropriate action is taken.
She says the lawsuit has led to a difficult time for the department, especially for workers who do what she describes as incredible and challenging work. She says she believes in all of the department’s programs and staff.
The statement represents the director’s first public comments since workers filed the lawsuit.
Full statement text: Sharon Harrigfeld, Director of the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections released the following statement today concerning the lawsuit filed recently against the department.
"While it is standard practice for an agency facing a lawsuit to limit discussion about the allegations outside of the legal process, when questions are raised about the safety of juveniles in our care and custody and the safety of our staff it is important for me as the Director to provide reassurance that our facilities are safe. I am confident that our staff and the procedures we have in place focus on the safety and protection of juveniles in our custody and ensure that when allegations of misconduct are brought forward they are investigated and appropriate action is taken.
"This is a difficult time for the Department, especially for the staff who do incredible and challenging work in the facilities to provide the best services to the juveniles committed to their care. I believe in our programs and I believe in our staff. I thank all staff for the public service provided each day to community safety."