Violence Monday night among juvenile offenders at Spring Creek Youth Services Center in Colorado Springs caused “significant damage to the facility,” according to Colorado Springs police, but no one was injured.
Officers received a call around 7:30 p.m. Monday about youths throwing tables and chairs and destroying property at the detention center at 3190 E. Las Vegas St., police spokesman Sgt. Jason Newton said.
Some juvenile inmates had been detained by guards at the center when police arrived, but after giving a verbal warning, police used pepper spray to contain those involved, according to the case report.
The incident was a matter of “the kids being out of control,” Newton said, but was not defined as a riot.
Charges haven't been filed, Newton said, as the altercation is still under investigation and police are reviewing video and conducting interviews.
Also, a cost estimate is needed on property damage in order to determine if any charges would be classified as misdemeanors or felonies, he said.
Police haven't concluded how the fight started, Newton said.
The incident marked the first time this year for such violence, according to police logs.
The environment at Spring Creek, one of five Division of Youth Services-run juvenile detention centers in Colorado, has improved after being plagued by multiple problems for years.
Teachers and guards at the center began complaining to The Gazette in 2014 about what they called "a war zone" inside, with fights and injuries happening regularly and high staff turnover.
The youth services director abruptly was replaced in 2016, after an inside whistleblower reported to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office riots, assaults on staff and youths, and consensual sex acts among Spring Creek inmates.
The state made internal changes to gain control of the center, including hiring additional staff, doing away with harsh punitive measures and removing violent offenders from the facility, reducing the number of beds from 80 to 51.
Legislative reform regarding juvenile isolation and staffing ratios also were enacted to improve state-operated facilities.
Spring Creek houses males and females ages 10 through 20, who are serving up to 45 days for a committing an offense or awaiting the outcome of arrests.