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NEWS
August 6, 2012
Maryland public safety secretary Gary D. Maynard insists that complaints about how his agency deals with youthful offenders are overblown and that those that are valid could be solved by building a new $70 million juvenile jail downtown. But recent reports of violence and unsafe conditions at the adult facility where minors charged with serious crimes are currently held - and the fact that federal officials haven't visited the place in more than two years to certify that that Maryland is honoring its commitment to improve conditions there - suggest the problem goes deeper than that.
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By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | August 12, 2014
DiJohn Thomas grew up bouncing between foster placements in Baltimore, never knowing how his peers, the next foster parents or staff at his next group home would respond to his being gay. Sometimes the adults responded negatively, he said, and his peers with their fists. "I've never been homeless to the point where I had to sleep outside, but there were times when I would leave group homes and wouldn't have anywhere to go but to a friend's house, sleeping on a couch," said Thomas, who is now 21 and first entered the foster system at age 6. "Most of the time, I would fight or people wouldn't like me just because they knew I was gay. " Advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community say Thomas's experiences are all too common.
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NEWS
June 23, 2010
If 18-year-old Lamont Davis' trial and sentencing on attempted-murder charges are not flashing signs for juvenile justice reform, it is difficult to see what would be. Mr. Davis was convicted of a terrible shooting that badly injured 5-year-old Raven Wyatt. But the two life sentences plus 30 years he received, foreclosing any possible second chance, would shock those who founded the first juvenile courts a century ago. The original juvenile courts, initially established in Chicago in 1899 and later throughout the United States, placed rehabilitation ahead of punishment.
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | May 13, 2013
Sen. Bobby Zirkin announced his reelection campaign Monday and said in an interview that he considered not running for a fifth term in the General Assembly after a "very, very hard session" that kept him away from his two young children. Zirkin, a 42-year-old criminal defense attorney and Baltimore County Democrat, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1998 and to the state Senate in 2006. He serves on the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee, which this session oversaw passage of Gov. Martin O'Malley's gun-control legislation.  In an email to supporters, Zirkin said he was proud of working to pass legislation that addresses the juvenile justice system, among other accomplishments and that he was seeking another term.
NEWS
August 17, 2012
We agree with The Sun that a proposed $70 million juvenile jail will do nothing to address the real problems with Maryland's juvenile justice system and that the whole policy of charging minors as adults needs rethinking ("A broken system," Aug. 7). There is no reason to believe that a new taxpayer-funded building will change the culture and climate for youth charged as adults in Baltimore. Correctional officers will still be employees of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, and the lengthy delays between arrests, hearings and trial will persist.
NEWS
By Vincent Schiraldi and Marc Schindler | December 17, 1999
THE recent series in documenting abuses of juvenile offenders in state boot camps comes on the heels of a scathing report by an international human rights group that criticized conditions for youths confined to Maryland's jails. These revelations raise serious concerns about the state's handling of juvenile offenders and should prompt elected officials to re-examine the overly punitive policies that have been implemented in recent years. "Maryland's jails are inappropriate places for youth, even for those accused of committing very serious crimes," the internationally acclaimed Human Rights Watch reported.
NEWS
By Brian Maxey | September 14, 1998
NEW YORK -- The nation was stunned recently when it learned that the two Chicago boys ages 7 and 8 who had been charged with the brutal sexual assault and murder of an 11-year-old girl in July couldn't have done it.After several weeks of media denunciation of the boys, prosecutors told the court that the state police lab had found semen on the victim's underwear. Forensic experts said it is only remotely possible for boys this young to produce semen.Prosecutors asked that charges against the boys be dropped "in the interests of justice."
NEWS
By C. Fraser Smith | December 2, 2001
HEREWITH A tale of overnight change and reforms of longer duration. In 1987, then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer toured the old Montrose Training School for juvenile offenders. Shaken by the desperate conditions there, he issued a terse order to his juvenile services secretary, Linda Rossi. "Fix that place," he said. "It can't be fixed," she said. "It has to be closed." "Then close it," Mr. Schaefer said. Close it they did, virtually overnight and at some political risk. Many young offenders would be going into community-based programs.
NEWS
By M. DION THOMPSON and M. DION THOMPSON,SUN STAFF | February 9, 2000
Maryland's reliance on putting juveniles in detention centers has led to severe overcrowding in deplorable conditions, juvenile justice advocates told a state legislative committee yesterday. The advocates, who are pushing for several bills aimed at reforming the state Department of Juvenile Justice, also told the House Judiciary Committee that services in the detention centers do not meet the needs of the children. According to the Maryland Juvenile Justice Coalition, more than 7,000 children are placed in juvenile detention each year, and many of them are detained for nonviolent offenses.
NEWS
By Dennis O'Brien and Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF | September 8, 2000
A 17-year-old was sentenced to 40 years in prison yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court for sexually assaulting a nurse at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in an incident that permanently scarred the victim and highlighted problems in Maryland's juvenile justice system. Felix Fitzgerald received a life sentence with all but 40 years suspended by Judge Alexander Wright Jr. Fitzgerald, who pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault, expressed no remorse, but in a brief tirade, he told Wright that he only pleaded guilty June 28 because he was convinced he wouldn't get a fair trial.
NEWS
August 17, 2012
We agree with The Sun that a proposed $70 million juvenile jail will do nothing to address the real problems with Maryland's juvenile justice system and that the whole policy of charging minors as adults needs rethinking ("A broken system," Aug. 7). There is no reason to believe that a new taxpayer-funded building will change the culture and climate for youth charged as adults in Baltimore. Correctional officers will still be employees of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, and the lengthy delays between arrests, hearings and trial will persist.
NEWS
August 6, 2012
Maryland public safety secretary Gary D. Maynard insists that complaints about how his agency deals with youthful offenders are overblown and that those that are valid could be solved by building a new $70 million juvenile jail downtown. But recent reports of violence and unsafe conditions at the adult facility where minors charged with serious crimes are currently held - and the fact that federal officials haven't visited the place in more than two years to certify that that Maryland is honoring its commitment to improve conditions there - suggest the problem goes deeper than that.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2012
In the J. DeWeese Carter Center in Kent County, youths would pick fights that sometimes turned into melees, recalled Rodney Stallworth, who spent four months there last year on a drug charge. The detention system frustrated the 18-year-old East Baltimore resident, but he also called it a refuge. He sometimes acted out violently because he knew it would keep him there — and away from drugs and guns on the street. "Since we can't go home, we would try to send the staff home" angry, he said.
NEWS
By Kelsey Miller, Capital News Service | March 10, 2012
About 80 percent of the girls committed to residential treatment centers in Maryland were accused of nothing more serious than a misdemeanor, according to Department of Juvenile Services statistics for 2010. For boys, that figure was around 50 percent. "That disparity between boys and girls is troubling and quite large," said Juvenile Services Secretary Sam Abed. "It's something I'm concerned about. It's a very complicated question, but it's something that merits explanation," Abed said.
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | January 9, 2012
Violence against juveniles has declined significantly in Baltimore in recent years as juvenile arrests have dropped and student graduations increased — a trend that the city schools chief said stills lags behind perceptions of the city's youths. "The fact that these things are coming together is … not an illusion," schools CEO Andrés Alonso said at a news conference at City Hall. "It's huge for the city. " Amid the continued decline in gun violence, which helped the city fall below 200 homicides last year for the first time since the 1970s, has been a sustained reduction in violence involving juveniles, officials say. Forty-two juveniles were shot or killed in 2011, down 67 percent from 2007 when 128 were shot or killed, statistics show.
NEWS
By Hathaway Ferebee | May 23, 2011
A recent report from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency demonstrates clearly that the state's plan for a $100 million jail to house Baltimore City youths charged as adults is way out of line. But the answer is not necessarily a smaller jail, either. The NCCD details five scenarios that, when implemented, could eliminate the need for a new jail at all — an outcome that is not only financially advantageous to our city but a moral imperative. Today's juvenile justice system remains true to its origins.
NEWS
By Thomas W. Waldron and Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF | April 4, 1997
Minors charged with serious crimes would be tried in open court, not in private, under legislation approved yesterday in the General Assembly.While critics say the legislation will do little to curb crime, proponents say it would focus needed public attention on Maryland's juvenile courts and direct the community's disapproval at young offenders, whose identities have been shielded.The measure would allow judges to close cases for "good cause," but proponents of the legislation said they expected that most proceedings would be open to the public.
NEWS
May 12, 2011
Baltimore needs a better way to handle juveniles who are charged as adults. The current system of housing them in a wing of the city's detention center is dangerous and inefficient. But a new report from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency confirms what youth activists have been saying for six years — that a plan to fix the problem by building a $100 million, 230-bed juvenile jail next to the adult jail is the wrong approach. Gov. Martin O'Malley needs to scrap the current plan, which got its start under the Ehrlich administration, and at the very least propose something half the size, though some of the ideas in the report for further reducing the number of youths locked up while waiting for trials in adult court merit serious consideration.
NEWS
November 23, 2010
The Sun editorial slamming departing Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Don DeVore ( "Still waiting for Superman," Nov. 21) is unfair, particularly in light of the same newspaper's recent reporting that since 2006, "the number of children killed in [Baltimore] has plunged by 80 percent, and the number of juveniles suspected in killings has dropped by about the same percentage. " As The Sun reported, Mr. DeVore collaborated to supervise the most at-risk youth closely and provide needed services and support.
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