OKLAHOMA CITY – A mother wants to see the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh closed completely.
“It’s to the point where I’m afraid for my daughter’s life,” said Christy West. “I don’t feel she’s safe at that facility.”
West’s 17-year-old daughter Solei has been a resident of the center for seven months, and she says in that time, she has had two incidents with guards and staff. The most recent instance has the teen recovering at a metro hospital after surgery.
West says late Thursday night, she got a call from a nurse at the center saying Solei would be transported to a hospital in Shawnee after complaining about leg pain. She was then transferred to a medical center in Oklahoma City.
News 4 reached out to the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs regarding the incident. Michael McNutt with the OJA sent us the following statement:
“A female resident of Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center attempted to escape the facility last evening. While running on the grounds within the secure perimeter fence, she fell and injured herself. She was restrained by staff and taken to a local hospital for medical care. Following agency policy, the incident has been turned over to the Office of Juvenile Affairs’ Office of Public Integrity for investigation.”
But West says Solei tells a different story.
“When I made it to the hospital around 6:30 this morning, my daughter told me she was abused,” West said. “Her and two other girls were just messing around, they were trying to run off and talk to the boys. My daughter ended up getting tackled to the ground, that’s how her hip got knocked three inches out-of-place and got a bruise on the side of her head.”
She said her daughter said she was handcuffed and laying on the concrete floor, in pain, screaming for someone to help her for hours.
Now, she says Solei is afraid to return. As a mother, she’s worried that if she returns, she may not get the post-operation attention she needs for her healing hip.
“I understand juveniles, they get in trouble, they have to pay for that, I understand that,” West said. “I’m afraid this is going to keep happening and I’m going to have to bury my daughter.”
West says she filed a complaint with the Department of Human Services but fears nothing will come of it. She adds that Solei’s first incident with guards at the center involved head injuries and a busted lip. West says after that first incident, Solei’s probation officer filed a complaint with DHS but says she’s heard nothing more about it.
“I want to see that facility shut down completely,” she said. “These girls are still kids and they do not deserve to be abused like that. Nobody does.”
The COJC made headlines in January after an 18-year-old female offender died there in January following what the OJA calls a ‘critical incident.’ The details of that death and the identity of that deceased offender were never disclosed.