Gov. Polis speaks on need for changes at Lookout Mountain following most recent escape

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DENVER - Gov. Jared Polis is weighing in on the issues at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center following an escape of another juvenile delinquent.

The youth services center in Golden has seen multiple juveniles escape in recent months as well as several staff members put on leave for issues ranging from child pornography to drug accusations.

"Your office is saying you guys are doing everything you guys can. What does that mean?" FOX31 political reporter Joe St. George asked Polis.

"Well, we got the picture of the escapee out to state troopers, so if he gets pulled over for a traffic stop, we can apprehend him," Polis said.

"As you know, there are a litany of problems happening at this facility over the last two months. Are you personally involved in reforming or making better the situation at Lookout?" St. George asked.

"Public safety is our top priority and there have been a number of discussions with our Department of Public Safety and Golden PD about improving security," Polis said.

Polis emphasized the state does not want to make teenagers at the facility feel like they are maximum-security inmates at adult prisons.

"Do you think more security at this prison might prevent future escapes?" St. George asked.

"These are where kids of different ages are. There are 12-year-olds and 17-year-olds. And there are differences between 12 and 17 years old, even within that," Polis said. "I think what they need to do a better job of going forward is risk assessment and saying who are people who might be in juvenile detention for a short period and who are persistent offenders and might be a higher risk?"

As we reported Tuesday, state lawmakers have already approved some upgrades to the site.

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