Los Angeles County's troubled juvenile hall in Sylmar witnessed more bloodshed this week as yet another teenage ward was taken to the hospital after being attacked by another inmate, according to authorities.
The attack Wednesday follows an even more serious assault last month at the same juvenile hall. In that incident, an Antelope Valley boy was paralyzed from the neck down.
And it comes amid ongoing concerns about security at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall and other facilities in the county's sprawling youth detention system, the third-largest in the nation.
In March, four inmates escaped from Nidorf after being placed in a less secure area of the hall, despite signs that at least some of them could be security risks.
The youth assaulted this week, as well as the one paralyzed last month, were being housed in the most secure section of the juvenile hall: a fenced complex of cellblocks in the center of the campus-like detention center.
The "compound," as it is called, is home to more than 200 of the most serious juvenile offenders, including many who are being tried as adults because of the severity of their alleged crimes.
Ron Barrett, the Probation Department's detention chief, said the latest victim, who is Latino, was severely cut in the face after being punched by another inmate, who is black. Racial tensions remain problematic at many of the county's juvenile facilities.
Barrett said the department is trying to enhance security in the compound at Sylmar by augmenting staffing and isolating problematic inmates. "We're going to keep working at it until we get things under control," he said.