Osceola Teen's Death Shedding Light on "Widespread Problems" at Youth Services Center

AUGUST 11, 2005 - Posted at 8:23 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A state official says the death of a 17-year-old at the Alexander Youth Services Center in April, and the investigation that resulted, uncovered widespread problems at the facility.

Division of Youth Services director Kenneth Hales told state legislators Wednesday that "systematic weaknesses" were revealed in the probe of the April 7 death of LaKeisha Brown of Osceola.  Brown died from a blood clot in her lungs.

Investigations showed that staff members violated the policies of the facility, operated under contract by Cornell Companies, of Houston.  State regulations were broken, too.

Officials say changes are being made to better evaluate operations at the youth lockup.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)