Shrinking youth jail a puzzling choice

May 21, 2011

As a 16-year-old high school junior, I found the article regarding the proposed jail for juvenile offenders fascinating ("Size of planned youth jail to shrink," May 13). First, I am glad that the youth jail is shrinking. But, at the same, I wonder why arrests are declining. I wonder if it's because fewer teen crimes are occurring, or are the punishments becoming more lenient and police officers are slacking on the job? If I were to guess, I would say that the law is becoming more lenient.

The first thing in the article that really caught my eye was the $70 million cost for a youth jail that only holds 230 offenders. I think it's irresponsible to spend all that money on a jail, but then cut the education funds that would go to teens who are trying to get an education, be successful, and do the right thing. Four million dollars have been spent on just planning, designing and preparing the jail alone.

I think that this is just another scheme to make the government look good. Baltimore is known for its violence. Seeing fewer juveniles locked up it will make us look better. But at what cost? They're going to arrest fewer people and it is going put the safety of this city at risk. They say the rate of teen crime is going down, but in reality there is no change. I see more offenders then I see police cars. I think what should happen is that the government should use the money to build the larger jail but with less entertainment in it. Jail is not supposed to be entertaining.

Kabraun Dixon

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