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'The kids are running the place': Newly released surveillance video shows uprising at Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility in Stark County

The video footage shows 12 youth inmates destroying nearly $300,000 in state property around the Stark County facility in October of 2022.

MASSILLON, Ohio — Newly released surveillance video from the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) shows an inside look at a barricade incident on October 22, 2022 at the Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility in Massillon. Officials said 12 youth inmates stole keys from a staff member and broke out of their rooms. 

They ran to the facility's school and damaged nearly $300,000 in state property according to the DYS. The video shows the teens tossing and smashing computer monitors, destroying multiple rooms and security cameras.

They barricaded themselves in a classroom, stacking desks and other furniture. Officials said they were in communication with the kids during the incident, and the teens said they were armed with makeshift weapons from the vocational classroom and threatened to harm staff members. It turned into a 12-hour standoff with the special response team deploying pepper spray to secure the scene.

No one was injured. You can see clips of the unrest in the below videos.

"The kids are running the place, our hands are tied," an anonymous staff member told 3News' Bri Buckley.

This staff member said he wasn't surprised this happened, and not much has changed since. He and others employees have called for more accountability and better leadership so an incident like this doesn't happen again.

"Surprising to me, no? I mean I see this stuff every day. The public doesn't realize it but anybody that works there does," he said.

Back in December the Department of Youth Services says it implemented new safety tools, including body worn cameras and pepper spray. 

In February three members of leadership, including the superintendent, were fired from incidents that happened before this barricade situation.

Staff say it's still not enough, and many are scared.

"They're afraid to use the pepper spray because then they're under investigation and numerous ones have been put out or quit or left or had the spray taken away from them because they used it," said the anonymous staff member.

The attacks have continued. Two weeks ago, a DYS representative confirmed that the Indian River superintendent was hit in the face while trying to break up a fight. Staff told 3News' Bri Buckley that a guard was attacked last week and still hasn't returned to work.

We first reported on the brutal attack of corrections officer David Upshaw last October that landed him in the hospital for three weeks. He's still recovering from those injuries. That attack happened days before the uprising.

Some of the teens told investigators the reason they planned this was because they were sick of being stuck in their private rooms, with not enough time in the common area, which was a result of low staffing levels.

A problem that Buckley is told hasn't been fixed.

"Between those that are out injured, quit or in temporary positions elsewhere we’re almost 60 staff short," the anonymous staff member added. "They cant keep the new staff in, the new staff come in and see what things are happening and haven't deal with this kind of situation or worked this kind of work before, are scared and they quit and leave."

DYS Director Amy Ast shared the following statement: 

"The Ohio Department of Youth Services is committed to operating safe facilities. This is hard work, and this incident does not reflect the great work that my staff show up and do every day. Additionally, I will continue to invest in my staff by providing them with support, training, and the necessary tools to be successful in their work. My team and I have learned from this incident, and we will continue to improve."

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