Juvenile inmates moved to 201 Poplar due to broken AC - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Juvenile inmates moved to 201 Poplar due to broken AC

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A broken air conditioner is forcing dozens of juvenile offenders to live behind bars downtown. A broken air conditioner is forcing dozens of juvenile offenders to live behind bars downtown.
Rick Powell with Memphis Juvenile Detention Center says temperatures started getting extremely uncomfortable in boy's detention. Rick Powell with Memphis Juvenile Detention Center says temperatures started getting extremely uncomfortable in boy's detention.
Temperatures reached 80 degrees inside the juvenile detention center. Temperatures reached 80 degrees inside the juvenile detention center.
Forty-seven minor boys have to be transferred temporarily to the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center, housed separate from adults on a lower level. Forty-seven minor boys have to be transferred temporarily to the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center, housed separate from adults on a lower level.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – A broken air conditioner is forcing dozens of juvenile offenders to live behind bars at 201 Poplar.

With the dangerous temperatures, administrators are not taking any chances. More than 40 teenage boys have been moved by van from the hot juvenile detention rooms to the adult jail downtown.

"Temperatures started getting extremely uncomfortable in boy's detention," said Rick Powell, Memphis Juvenile Detention Center.

While August temperatures average in the upper 90s outside, temperatures reached 80 degrees inside the juvenile detention center.

Since 4 p.m. Wednesday morning, Juvenile Administrator Rick Powell has been searching for a solution to the heat.

"Our maintenance crew trouble shot it and we found out that one of our motors, a suspected motor had gone out," said Powell.

Contractors determined an AC unit starter motor malfunctioned on the north side of the facility.

"The part is coming overnight out of Baltimore and we're hoping to have it up Thursday afternoon or Friday morning," said Powell.

In the meantime, 47 minor boys have to be transferred.

The detention administration says the boys will be moved temporarily to the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center. They will be housed separate from adults on a lower level with plenty of security.

"It's been used before for juveniles. There's completely sight and sound separation. They will have no contact with any of the adult inmates down there and they'll be supervised by the juvenile court staff," said Powell.

Powell says the detention center has always had similar procedures in place.

"We do have an emergency plan. The question is, if we had a catastrophic event what would we do with the kids that are here?"

The temporary housing plan appears to be effective and Powell says it has been a good training exercise.

"After this we'll be doing some updating to it but it's been a great learning experience for all of us," said Powell.

The broken air conditioner is only affecting a small area of the Memphis Juvenile Detention Center. The facility is still in operation for visitation and processing.

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