Louisville parents, the IMC look to address the alleged mistreatment of teens at the Adair County Juvenile Detention Center

The Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition held a press conference today to address the alleged mistreatment at the Adair County Juvenile Detention Center.
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:52 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville mother is speaking out against the the Department of Juvenile Justice, after her son was transferred to the Adair County Juvenile Center without her knowledge.

She says it’s been almost two weeks since she has spoken to or seen her son.

The Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition held a press conference Wednesday to address the alleged mistreatment at the Adair County Juvenile Detention Center.

WAVE News Troubleshooters first brought you the story regarding conditions at the Adair County center and the riots that have occurred and gone unreported.

Right now there are more questions than answers when it comes to the state of the Department of Juvenile Justice in Kentucky as there are reports of both teens and the staff being assaulted and injured.

”You feel helpless. You feel helpless. All you can do is go off the word of somebody,” Louisville mother Juanisha Saunders said.

Saunders says she hasn’t heard her son’s voice in two weeks.

In that time he was moved from the detention center that closed in Lyndon to Adair County where the police have been called multiple times to control riots and breakouts. So saying she’s worried about him doesn’t do it any justice.

”Every night me nor his father can sleep cause we haven’t talked to him,” Saunders said. “He’s a child, he can make mistakes and that’s why he’s there, to learn from his mistakes. That doesn’t mean he can be treated like a dog in a cage.”

Members of the IMC sent letters to multiple elected officials including Governor Andy Beshear, asking for an investigation into the Adair County Juvenile facility as well as reestablishing the Jefferson County Youth Detention Center downtown.

”And we won’t stay silent, we won’t eat turkey, we won’t fellowship with family knowing our brothers and sisters are somewhere struggling,” IMC President David Snardon said. “Somebody needs to keep an eye on this, lift this up and demand something happens to change this situation.”

DaQuan Bell Sr. believes that if kids like his son don’t get the help they need, then the impacts will be felt by everyone.

”If we don’t help these kids that have been here to commit these crimes then it could be your house, it could be your car, it could be your life,” Bell Sr. said.

Saunders and Bell say they call the Adair County facility every day trying to speak to their son just to finally hear his voice, but their efforts are always to no avail.

”You’re already sad because your son is in the predicament he’s in but I haven’t talked to him,” Saunders said. “I can’t know that he’s okay and let me hear him say that nothing has happened to him and that he’s not being mistreated and being fed.”

Saunders says she just wants her son to know that she’ll never give up on him.

”I pray that he can watch a TV and see that we’re out here and that we love them. Because them kids can be out there thinking we forgot about them and that nobody loves them but we love them,” Saunders said. “Because no matter what he did he can learn from his mistakes because he’s just a kid.”

Sources tell us that authorities were also called for an incident involving a teen on Monday.

The State says the DJJ is currently in the process of coordinating dates and times for critical incident stress counseling for the staff something they’ve been asking for, for weeks.

The IMC says they’re expecting to meet with elected officials as early as next week.