8 hurt at Goshen boys' prison

| 21 Apr 2015 | 10:43

By Nathan Mayberg
Eight juveniles and guards at the Goshen Secure Center, a juvenile detention facility for boys ages 12 to 21, were taken by ambulance after a fight broke out during a basketball game Friday night.

Goshen Volunteer Ambulance Corps Captain David Grippe said his department responded to a request from the juvenile center on Cross Road for two ambulances at about 8:30 p.m. on April 17. An additional 911 call requested ambulances to transport assault victims to the hospital. Grippe said five juveniles and three staff members were taken to Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown and St. Anthony's Hospital in Warwick.

According to Grippe and the state police, the injuries were minor. All of the injured were treated and released.

State Trooper Steven Nevel said the incident occurred when residents from one section of the center were playing basketball. Residents from another wing breached the doors of the basketball court and began fighting with the players, Nevel said. Eighteen residents were fighting at one point, he said.

He said guards were injured breaking up the fight.

Grippe said his volunteers were busy attending to victims until 1:30 a.m.

"It went on for quite some time," said Grippe.

A message left with Goshen Secure Center Director Bobby Ray Smith was not immediately returned. Jennifer Givner, Assistant Commissioner for Communications for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, said in an email that the incident is still under investigation. Givner disputed the account of 8 people taken to the hospital and said only 7 were sent to the hospital. Givner said in an email that three juveniles and four staff members were taken to the hospital. Grippe said five juveniles and three staff members were transported to hospitals.

Police departments from Goshen, Florida and Chester were also reportedly at the scene. Joining the Goshen EMTs were ambulances from the Warwick and Pine Island volunteer ambulance companies. Mobile Life Support Services also responded.

A TROUBLED HISTORYOriginally known as The Goshen Annex, the center opened in 1961 and is one of four "secure centers" for youth run by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. The agency runs eight other residential facilities for youth placed in its custody by family and criminal courts, including one reception center, five limited-secure facilities, and two non-secure facilities.

At a social event held at the Goshen Secure Center in December 2009, staff neglected to intervene when violent male offenders had sexual contact with four female guests ranging in age from 16 to 27. The New York State Commission of Correction slammed the Office of Children and Family Services for its lack of oversight in this incident.

“This event was orchestrated without any clear policy or procedural direction as to how it was to be organized, supervised and chaperoned, and without any appreciable security precautions or safeguards that would be the expected norm for contact social events involving violent offenders in a high-security institution,” said the commission in a 2010 report. “In fact, there was far less planning, organization and precaution than one would expect at a conventional high school prom.”

Other violent incidents have been reported at the center since then.

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