An independent monitor has issued a scathing report on conditions in Maryland’s juvenile detention centers – describing them as crowded, understaffed, and the scene of gang fights and near-riots by youths who have too few activities, says the Baltimore Sun. The report, the first to be issued since the administration of Gov. Robert Ehrlich appointed Katherine A. Perez as the independent monitor in January, details a list of problems in the state-run jails and residential centers for juvenile offenders.
They include the “thug-like” demeanor at one facility of some staff members who allegedly abused youths and allowed them to fight each other; a lack of educational and other activities to keep young offenders occupied; improper and excessive use of seclusion; and, at some facilities, inadequate supplies of such basics as socks, undershirts, soap, and personal hygiene items. The report paints a grim picture of a juvenile services system that Ehrlich as a candidate promised to reform. Del. Bobby A. Zirkin, a Baltimore County Democrat, said the report shows that Ehrlich has failed to fulfill his promise of reform.