The retired employee we spoke with worked at a different DYS facility in the area, not Tinkham Road. Still, he wanted to shed more light on the safety conditions faced by those on the front lines of youth crime.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)-- A retired employee of the department of youth services is speaking out following the deadly assault at a DYS facility in Springfield.

The retired employee we spoke with worked at a different DYS facility in the area, not Tinkham Road. Still, he wanted to shed more light on the safety conditions faced by those on the front lines of youth crime.

On June 30th, authorities say James Hillman Junior was attacked by a sixteen-year-old boy at the Department of Youth Services facility in Springfield.

Hillman, who worked at the facility as a center for Human Development employee, later died.

"Unfortunately it was inevitable. I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner," said a retired DYS worker.

Western Mass News spoke with this retired DYS employee who asked that we not show his face. He didn't work at the Tinkham Road facility, but rather a different DYS facility in the region. But he says those who work within the DYS system are at risk of violence.

"Yes I was assaulted a couple of times," said a retired DYS worker.

He claims employees were concerned DYS wouldn't support them if they were the targets of physical violence.

The onus moved from repercussions to the individuals that were causing the problems or assault in this case, to back on the employees, the staff, which made them a little apprehensive when things happened. So sometimes a little moment of hesitation is enough to see somebody really get hurt," said a retired DYS worker.

The Hampden District Attorney is investigating what happened at Tinkham Road as a homicide and they say charges are pending.

For this retired employee, he said this deadly assault shows something needs to change.

"The way the state of Massachusetts has implemented their programs now, they’re not really working. I mean, obviously, what happened to Mr. Hillman, it’s awful," said a retired DYS worker.

The Department of Youth Services has declined to comment on this specific case because the investigation is ongoing. In light of this retired employee's interview, we have reached back out to DYS for more information on their protocol for handling youth assaults on staff.

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