Overcrowding, staff shortages, and inadequate security continue to plague Maryland’s juvenile corrections facilities, says a report quoted by the Baltimore Sun. The report from the state’s Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit cited the latest in a series of problems uncovered in several audits conducted after a 14-year-old boy in a low-security program was accused of sexually assaulting and killing a state employee this year.
The state contends that areas of safety and performance show a “positive” direction compared with the same period last year. The agency reports that assaults on staff have dropped 28 percent statewide, group disturbances have fallen 61 percent statewide, and escapes are down 43 percent. At the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George’s County, where Hannah Wheeling was killed by a teen in February, the report found overcrowding, that cottages were “dilapidated,” and staffing was inadequate. The report also said youth are held in isolation for longer than permitted. The report is the first quarterly study since Juvenile Services Secretary Donald DeVore, whose four-year tenure has earned mixed reviews, announced that he would not seek reappointment.