A youth’s escape in the first hours of Washington, D.C.’s new New Beginnings Youth Development Center shows a need for officials to be as vigilant in protecting public safety as in promoting rehabilitation, editorializes the Washington Post. The $46 million center opened last Friday, with youth services director Vincent Schiraldi calling it “the anti-prison.”
Schiraldi’s words took on an unintended irony when a youth easily scaled a fence to escape the next day, the Post says. The youth was soon recaptured. Schiraldi has called in security experts and ordered installation of razor wire he first scorned. His department says 7 percent of the youth in its care were unaccounted for last week, compared with 26 percent in 2003. The department estimates that reconviction rates of youth leaving the former Oak Hill detention center were cut in half from 2005 to 2007.