Youths held at the state of Maryland’s Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center “suffer significant harm and risk of harm” from violence because there isn’t enough staff on hand, and behavior management and treatment plans are inadequate, says a U.S. Department of Justice study reported by the Baltimore Sun. Justicet says the state has run the 144-bed detention center in an unconstitutional manner. It says that the state has failed to protect children adequately, citing youth-on-youth assault rates 47 percent higher than the national average for such facilities; failed to safeguard youths against suicide by not keeping a close enough eye on those held in seclusion or on suicide watches; and failed to provide adequate mental health treatment and other services for youths who need them.
The report dated Aug. 7. It was not released until the Sun requested a copy. Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth C. Montague Jr. said that the federal report reflects conditions that investigators found during inspections a year ago, and that issues they raised have been addressed. But the state’s independent monitor of juvenile facilities, Katherine Perez, wrote Montague about the Baltimore center Aug. 31, noting “the ongoing issue of staffing shortages and the threat to life, health and safety this presents to children.”