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YSI: Another Death, Another Settlement

Youth Services International (YSI), a company already under fire for a multitude of problems, including contract violations, financial mismanagement, prisoner mistreatment and prisoner deaths, was again in the news this past September. YSI, a subsidiary of Corrections Services Corporation, operates juvenile prisons, including boot-camp-style facilities, in a number of states.

Texas: On August 31, 2002, a youth, whose name was not released, died at the Colorado County Juvenile Facility, a boot camp operated by YSI in Eagle Lake, Texas. Authorities there called the death a "clear case of suicide." The youngster's death is one of many occurring at boot camps nationwide, including those operated by YSI [PLN, Aug. `02].

Maryland: On September 9, 2002, it was revealed by YSI and the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services that YSI would pay the state $792,470 to resolve claims stemming from myriad contract violations at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School. This settlement comes on the heels of a 2001 settlement in which YSI agreed to pay $600,000 to settle a $2 million claim resulting from violations at its Victor Cullen Academy, also in Maryland. [See PLN's August and September 2002 cover stories.] Both the Hickey School and the Cullen Academy house juvenile prisoners under contract with the state.

Most of the $792,470 was reimbursement for services YSI failed to provide at Hickey, mostly the failure to train employees. Of 108 employees, only one received full training and 34 received none. Maryland's contract required that all juvenile detention workers receive 40 hours of training before starting work. However, $37,000 represented fines for escapes at the prison. Payment will be taken from $843,000 the state had been withholding due to the dispute.

Sources: The Houston Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun

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