Three weeks ago Masslive reported that a counselor at a Springfield DYS facility was hospitalized after an “incident” with a 16 year old resident. What they didn’t report was that James Hillman Jr. was for all intents and purposes dead after he was murdered by a kid named David Burgos from Holyoke, and that the whole thing was preventable. Burgos was officially charged yesterday and it finally made the news.
David Burgos was a frequent problem, and a product of the system, as are many kids in DYS. His teen mom died years ago, and he described her as “the best mom I have in my life.”
He grew up in the system, and could not be saved by the plethora of social programs that exist to help kids like this.
He’d been showing violent inclinations since he was 11.
By the time he was a teenager it was too late. He was out of control and violent, as are most kids at these facilities. According to staff members we spoke with kids there are coddled and frequently assault staff. Sometimes they’re rewarded for it with Chinese food. Burgos murdered James Hillman by choking him to death after luring him into his room with no cameras, leaving him alone and dying for 14 minutes. Because this should not have happened DYS began to cover it up, and instead of having Burgos arrested DYS simply transferred him to from Springfield to another facility.
Here is the email we first received on July 7.
The Department of Youth Services is trying to cover up a murder. A 16 year old, David Burgos, (9-16-2004) murdered a staff at the secure treatment facility at 280 Tinkam Rd in Springfield. Masslive is calling it an incident. The “child” strangled James Hillman jr. to death. Staff have reported that the family took him off life support. This is being treated as a simple “incident”. Frankly it’s bullshit. Feel free to call Peter Forbes and Ruth Rovezzi. Assaults on staff continue in the juvenile facilities because of policies that cater to the children. They would rather give them video games and cupcakes than hold a criminal responsible.
According to the source DYS was well aware that Burgos was a danger to staff.
“This kid was just in court for assaulting a teacher. The teacher said in court that Burgos was going to kill someone, yet they still sent kid back to a vendor program. The state doesn’t take assaults on staff serious.”
Staff at these facilities have attempted to report assaults but they are not taken seriously unless they go directly to the police.
“If we want to press charges now we must tell our manager who will contact the DA. Many staff never hear about it again. No court hearings for kids, etc. Gets swept under rug.”
DYS subscribes to the progressive “restorative justice” philosophy, in which kids don’t need punishment, they need more counseling and rewards for good behavior. According to staff it’s not working out well for them:
“If a kid assaults a staff they are sure to get cookies, candy, take-out and video games because DYS promotes PYD, aka positive youth development. Most floor workers agree we should’ve been a juvenile division of DOC a long time ago.”
On top of that DYS also endangers girls by allowing boys to live amongst the gender they identify with.
“DYS puts boys who want to be girls in girls unit. I bet parents would love to know that their daughters are being housed with mentally ill male criminals. A few years back DYS put a 300 pound male at girls program. Female units have mostly female staff. A male injured several female staff, breaking one staff’s jaw and another’s wrist. DYS was quick to move male back to male unit. You think they learned their lesson, nope DYS has continued to send males to female units if they are gay and claim to be female.”
James Hillman should be alive today, but he’s not because DYS allowed a well known and dangerous predator to kill him. They were warned ahead of time by his teacher that he was going to kill someone, and when he finally did they attempted to cover it up. Staff at these facilities are in danger every day because the system uses a progressive philosophy of coddling instead of punishing. As a result kids like David Burgos know they can get away with anything, and now someone is dead because of it.
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