Changes coming to Golden youth facility following latest escape

GOLDEN, Colo. -- The latest escape of a violent offender from the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden has many Coloradans asking what is wrong with the facility.

Below is the list of issues at the facility in the last few months:

April 15: Death threats target 5 guards 

April 26: Supervisor arrested on suspicion of child porn possession

May 1: 11 staff members hurt in riot (2 hospitalized)

May 1: Three staff members on leave for bringing drugs

May 6: Two inmates escape

May 27: Three guards hurt breaking up a fight

May 29: Facility director resigns

Youth Services Director Anders Jacobson confirmed changes are coming to the Golden site.

ISSUE #1: Fencing

The facility will install an anti-climbing mesh in the coming weeks to make it harder to climb. There are no plans to install barbed wire.

State officials confirm they do not want the facility to look like a prison because juveniles are held there. They are trying to achieve a delicate balance.

ISSUE #2: Bed sheets

Once again, the escapee used old bed sheets to create a rope to help him escape.

"Accountability to bedding is something we are looking into presently," Jacobson said.

ISSUE #3: Staffing 

The Problem Solvers have previously reported on issues with staff at the facility, ranging from supervisors resigning to staff being put on leave for drugs and child porn allegations.

The Colorado General Assembly has approved raises for employees to better attract higher-quality staff.

"The legislature is going to increase our direct care staff salaries [by] 22 percent over the next two years," Jacobson said.

Colorado Department of Human Services executive director Michelle Barnes issued the following statement:

"Clearly we have work to do at Lookout Mountain. The last two months have been a challenge in managing the incidents that have occurred and highlight the need for change. Last night’s escape is frustrating, however, I am confident in the leadership in the Department of Youth Services that we are going to be successful in turning Lookout Mountain into the quality program that it can be. I am thankful for the support of the Golden Police Department, and want to assure the citizens of Golden that the safety of the community, the youth and the staff is my top priority."

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