Juvenile Detention Duperintendent Fired

Posted at 7:55 AM, Jan 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-28 18:07:22-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)-  Dianne L. Gadow, the superintendent of Richmond’s Juvenile Detention Center, has been relieved of her duties by the mayor and a new management team has been set up to correct issues that led the center to be placed on probation last week by the Virginia State Board of Juvenile Justice.

“Major Jones gave us a very clear directive that we had to take very quick and aggressive action in turning the center around,” Richmond Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Carolyn Graham told CBS 6. “We will finish the work before we go back to the board in April.”

The mayor’s office released this statement Tuesday afternoon: Effective January 16, 2012, the superintendent of the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center has been relieved of her duties and Jack Scott, Executive Director of the Crater Youth Commission in Petersburg, has been named interim superintendent. Chuck Kehoe, director of the Richmond Department of Justice Services (RDJS) will serve as the lead for the RJDC organization’s Correction Action Plan. Also, Charles Lampkin from RDJS has been named as the interim assistant superintendent.”

Who is Dianne Gadow, the superintendent relieved of her duties?

Even though she ran one of the tougher detention facilities in the state, she’s never been quoted in a news story or given a TV interview.

Gadow, a recognized juvenile corrections reformer, was brought here two years ago to turn Richmond’s program around.

Records indicate Gadow served as the Deputy Director of Operations for the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.

She ran a juvenile correction center in Delaware, and worked with Youth Services in Colorado. She’s been the Chairperson of the American Correctional Association Juvenile Corrections Committee. And she’s known for building programs that focus on mental health, special education and other issues to get offenders out of the incarceration loop.

She came here with a three-to-five-year plan to do that. But persistent problems at the 60-bed detention center continue after two years on the job, including lingering training shortcoming, maintenance and some security and safety issues.

That’s why the state Board of Juvenile Justice put the facility on probation last week. The Virginia State Conference of the NAACP has been pushing for investigations and corrective actions. That organization’s executive director, King Salim Khalfani, has called the center a “cesspool of corruption.”

In 2003, when Gadow ran the detention facility in Delaware, she was sued for racial and sexual discrimination in federal court for suspending an employee who had violated protocol. That case was summarily dismissed.

Was her tenure here in Richmond a case of a bad fit, or did she run into a system that was resistant to reform?

When she was the juvenile corrections administrator for Arizona, she wrote an article about modern challenges facing those trying to turn around young offenders. She urged a community- and government-wide approach to fixing one of society’s toughest problems – turning youthful offenders around.

She quoted President Eisenhower’s secretary of state, saying:  "The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year."