Training School Union Says, “My Fear is that Someone Will Die”

Friday, July 28, 2017


Jerry Minetti, president of Local 314, stated, "In my opinion this [an attack on training school guards] was a premeditated and organized assault on Staff. While DCYF boasts about the ending of the Consent Decree and being the first state in the country to meet or exceed Juvenile Detention Alternatives Standards, Juvenile Program Workers (JPW) are being assaulted and their lives are being put at risk. My fear is 
that someone will die if conditions do not drastically improve." 

RI AFSCME lawyer Nicole Barnard spoke with GoLocal LIVE about what the union is now demanding, after union workers at the Rhode Island Training School were outnumbered on Wednesday night during an altercation with youth which resulted in multiple injuries. 

According to AFSCME, three JPWs were injured along with two juvenile inmates on Wednesday night, which Bernard spoke to with GoLocal's News Editor Kate Nagle.

According to the union, "when residents were directed to return to their rooms for the night they refused in what appeared to be a planned collective action. A resident took a swing at a JPW. While the JPW attempted to restrain the resident, another resident grabbed a broom and broke it over the JPW's head. The other 19 residents then attacked the remaining three Juvenile Program Workers. Computers, phones and other property was destroyed on the Mod during the melee." 

The union said," Interfering with rescue efforts was the mechanical door to the unit, which could not be opened due to an ongoing mechanical malfunction that has persisted for two months and which DCYF 
administration knew about. Other JPW s were unable to assist due to the door's failure to open.  The State Police responded and worked with Staff until order was restored." 

A total of three JPWs and two juvenile inmates were taken to the hospital via ambulance. And, another JPW went to the hospital on his own power. 

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