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Youth Villages Statement June 25, 2024

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2024

We have reviewed the Shelby County Medical Examiner’s report on the death of Robshekaneciona Alegend Jones, who experienced a medical emergency while in a therapeutic hold at our Girls’ Center last November and passed away a few days later.

Alegend’s death is a tragedy, and our hearts go out to her family. The loss of her life has been devastating to everyone who worked with her and knew her.

The Medical Examiner’s report shows there was no abuse or intentional physical injury caused by our staff. The report states the “manner” of death was “undetermined,” and “the cause of death is attributed to complications of restraint with a contributing factor of asthma.”

Unfortunately, there were innumerable false, harmful and reckless allegations made by individuals and repeated by the media and on social networks about Youth Villages and our staff. A full outline of those unfounded allegations, including damaging claims of battery and assault against the youth, compared to the facts is available here.

On our residential campuses, we help youth who are dealing with the most difficult and challenging issues. Therapeutic holds are used only when necessary to help young people calm down and regulate their behavior. Alegend was placed in a hold for her own safety and the safety of our staff, and only after repeated violent outbursts. Our team followed their training and all safety protocols and procedures. Medical staff were present. The witness statements and video support this.

A link to our prior public statements, detailing the specifics of the incident, can be found here. Autopsy reports can be requested from the Medical Examiner.

We have worked transparently with all relevant authorities and cooperated fully with the investigations. We remain committed to our core values and mission of helping children, families and young adults.