Report Documents Spike in Violence at Maryland Juvenile Facilities


Youth violence and staff uses of force spiked in 2011 at Maryland’s most troubled juvenile detention centers, reports the Baltimore Sun. An annual report by the state’s Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit, part of the attorney general’s office, says the number of incident reports filed rose 25 percent from 2010 to 2011 across the state’s juvenile justice system to nearly 8,000, while some of the more violent categories of incidents increased even more.

The rise in violence frustrates child advocates, who call it the latest symptom of long-standing problems in Maryland’s juvenile justice system. Youths spend months in detention centers waiting to be placed in treatment programs, a process that should take weeks. Some facilities are at nearly twice their capacity, and sometimes the young inmates resort to violence. And the staff, stressed by mandatory overtime hours, are fleeing for higher-paying jobs in the adult justice system, leaving inexperienced staff to deal with angry teens.

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