D.C. Vows Changes After Escaped Teen Defendants Are Arrested


Crimes have been traced to juvenile offenders under the supervision of the Washington, D.C. ‘s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, says Washington Post columnist Colbert King. Some of those youths have escaped from custody or — in juvenile justice parlance — are “in abscondance.” This month, D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, chairman of the committee that oversees the agency, convened a public roundtable to examine the problem of juvenile escapees. The agency averages 70 youth in abscondance at any given time, Wells said, adding that about 16 of the 70 “are considered at highest risk for violence.”

Wells said his committee wanted to know if D.C. police, charged with apprehending juvenile escapees, “had sufficient resources to make abscondance a priority, and how quickly they could be expected to find and take a youth into custody.” Mayor Adrian Fenty wouldn’t allow a police representative to attend Wells’s session, but D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles says the city will release a report on youth homicides and improvements needed in the city’s juvenile justice system. Nickles wouldn’t share details, but he declared, “Changes are needed.”

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