Teen Offender Recidivism High, Monitoring Deficient in D.C.


After 30 columns about failures of Washington, D.C.’s juvenile justice agency, the Washington Post’s Colbert King says that youth in D.C.’s care “continue to maim and get maimed, rob and get robbed, kill and be killed.” Trial judges have no say in youths’ placement or treatment as a result of an appellate court ruling sought by the city, which “complained that judges were mandating expensive treatment programs without regard for the city's interests,” King says.

Typically, youths who are committed serve six to nine months in a secure detention facility, then are placed in out-of-state treatment facilities or back into their communities under city supervision. Juvenile justice agency director Neil Stanley tells King that the quality of supervision, monitoring, and programs in the 20 city group homes and community-based facilities are deficient. City Councilmember Jim Graham says 16 people killed this year in D.C. have been under city supervision, and that of 225 youths ages 18-20 placed in the community in six months, 127 were rearrested.

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