U.S. moves to end oversight of two Md. juvenile justice centers

June 25, 2008|By Julie Bykowicz

The U.S. Department of Justice filed motions in federal court yesterday to end its oversight of two long-troubled Maryland juvenile justice facilities.

In August 2002, federal authorities began investigating conditions, including poor health care and inadequate education, at Cheltenham Youth Facility and Charles H. Hickey Jr. School, eventually entering into an oversight agreement with the state Department of Juvenile Services. Yesterday, the federal agency said it was satisfied that Juvenile Services had remedied problems at the two facilities for delinquent children.

Cheltenham, in Prince George's County, houses girls who have been found responsible for crimes, and Hickey, in Baltimore County, houses boys who have been found responsible for crimes. The number of youths held at both facilities has been greatly reduced in recent years. While they once topped 400 youths each, yesterday Cheltenham was home to 104 girls, and Hickey held 72 boys.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions misstated the gender of youths housed at the Cheltenham Youth Facility. The Prince George's County facility houses boys.
The Sun regrets the error

Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Donald W. DeVore, a former federal monitor himself, said he was "extraordinarily proud" that he had helped lift the facilities out of their long-standing problems. He signed the agreement to end oversight Monday night. DeVore is set to join Gov. Martin O'Malley at a news conference today in Annapolis to discuss the action.

About a year ago, DeVore voluntarily entered into a similar agreement for federal oversight of the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, which has been troubled by crowding and violence. That oversight will continue, though DeVore said many improvements have already been made.

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