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DECKER LAKE FLAWS REVEALED

An investigation into the escape attempt by four Decker Lake residents from the secure facility last month concluded the division must make changes not only in the Decker Lake facility but in it's hiring, training and staffing practices.

In a report released Friday morning, a team of investigators wrote that staff error was involved in and contributed to the youths' ability to get from their rooms and eventually into the facility's courtyard and then into another living center.During the escape attempt on July 5, one counselor was assaulted and two were locked in a shower room by four youths, who are now in the Salt Lake County Jail awaiting trial on charges stemming from the incident.

The boys did thousands of dollars of damage to equipment and furniture in the second living center. The probe was initiated by the division to determine what, if any, changes should be made at Decker Lake.

The investigators, four people from the Human Services' Office of Liability, pointed out several areas needing to be reviewed and in some cases improved. Among the errors cited included the person monitoring the control room failing to see the lights on a control panel alerting him that doors had been opened in the living center.

They said the two counselors didn't make rounds as frequently as needed and suggested the facility make policy changes that would mandate more frequent rounds. They said the counselors didn't notice the curtains in the living center had been drawn before entering the housing unit where they were ambushed by the teens.

The control room monitor also allowed the boys to exit the living center without asking the person buzzing to identify himself.

The panel said staff need further training in managing a graveyard shift, the division needed to review existing policies and the issue of double bunking and how youths are matched up.