Until contractor is hired, state to operate Hickey

March 03, 2004|By Dan Fesperman | Dan Fesperman,SUN STAFF

Maryland's Department of Juvenile Services will take over management of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School later this month until a replacement can be found for the outgoing contractor, Youth Services International, officials said yesterday.

Hickey, in the Cub Hill area of Baltimore County, is a state juvenile detention center in housing about 260 youths charged with offenses ranging from drug possession to armed robbery.

It has been managed by Youth Services, a subsidiary of Correctional Services Corp., since 1993. Another contractor, Rebound Inc., ran Hickey for 15 months before that.

The Youth Services contract expires later this month, and state officials recently began accepting bids from competitors.

Youth Services initially was a local company owned by W. James Hindman, better known for creating Jiffy Lube. But Hindman took the company public in 1994, and in late 1998 it was acquired by Correctional Services, based in Sarasota, Fla.

Shortly afterward, Youth Services won a new, five-year state contract at Hickey, although state officials were threatening within months to fire the company.

Youth Services managed to hold onto the job for the duration of its contract, even though Hickey has often been troubled by outbreaks of violence, sometimes involving staff members assaulting students.

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